Why does John hate school in the Pigman?

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jdslinky | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

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In The Pigman by Paul Zindel, John Conlan tells the reader that he hates school in the opening paragraph of the novel; however, he doesn't give specific reasons for his feelings. Instead, he describes the types of things he does as a result of his hatred for school: sets off bombs in the bathrooms and orchestrates supercolossal fruit rolls, (chapter 1).

One may conclude that John hates school because he's bored by it, hence the reason he tries to infuse excitement into the days by setting off bombs and rolling fruit down the classroom aisles. Lorraine explains further, " ...even when we were in Miss Stewart's typing class, he had to do something unusual all the time-- like type a letter in the shape of an hourglass. That's the kind of thing he does," (7).

Lorraine also brings up a good point in suggesting that maybe John is simply unhappy: "He pretends he doesn't care about anything in the world, and he's always ready with some outrageous remark, but if you ask me, any real hostility he has is directed against himself," (10). The reasons behind John's unhappiness may stem from his home life.

His father is an alcoholic and his mother is a clean freak. These character traits keep John from having a healthy relationship from either parent. Furthermore, his only sibling, Kenneth, is a successful business man who John is constantly compared to, even though it's an unfair comparison because John is still an adolescent, not a grown man. John never really discusses these issues in his chapters, but the reader gleans a lot of information from the information provided by Lorraine.

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