Chapter 12 Summary

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Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 621

On Thursday, John and Lorraine did not get together until third period lunch. Lorraine had endured a typically unpleasant morning with her mother, who kept harping about how she wished her new client “would hurry up and croak” because her husband was getting “a little too friendly” with the nurses...

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On Thursday, John and Lorraine did not get together until third period lunch. Lorraine had endured a typically unpleasant morning with her mother, who kept harping about how she wished her new client “would hurry up and croak” because her husband was getting “a little too friendly” with the nurses while his wife lay dying. John was late to school because of another confrontation with his father, who could not understand how John could be missing “forty-two assignments in Problems in American Democracy.” During their break, John and Lorraine went over to the pay phone near the principal’s office, which they were not supposed to use. John stood guard in the hall while Lorraine talked to the nurse on Mr. Pignati’s floor at the hospital and learned that the Pigman was doing well but probably would not be released until Saturday at the earliest.

John had thought he and Lorraine would have had a great time going over to the Pigman’s house during his absence, but things had not turned out exactly as he had planned. The Pigman had been taken ill on Sunday, and on Monday, John and Lorraine had dressed up in the Pignatis’ clothes and shared dinner by candlelight. The two had gone over to the house again on Tuesday, but Lorraine had tried to make some TV dinners and burned them. On Wednesday, they had only a little time at the house after school because Lorraine’s mother “was on the warpath about antifermenting the kitchen,” and on Thursday, they had to do a report for their class on Problems in American Democracy.

Because Friday was the last day before the Pigman was scheduled to return, John and Lorraine cut school so that they could spend some time together at the house. Lorraine attempted to make breakfast, but John was in a sour mood, complaining about her cooking and refusing to help clean up. Lorraine knew that something was bothering John, so she let him watch TV for a while as she set about straightening things up in the house alone. Lorraine reflected that John’s bad mood had been building ever since the night he kissed her in the Pigman’s bedroom. Things had been “slightly awkward” between them since then, and Lorraine concluded that, although she had “been in love” with John for months, the feelings he was now experiencing were new and confusing to him; “suddenly he was wearing shaving lotion, combing his hair, and fighting with [her].” After a while, John came into the room Lorraine was cleaning and said he was ready to help—but only “because the Pigman’s coming home tomorrow, and this hovel better look good.”

Lorraine and John really “went to work” on the house and they made it look even better than before. The only room they did not touch was the one in which Mr. Pignati kept his pigs; somehow, that area seemed sacred, not to be disturbed. Lorraine had had a dream about that room, in which the pigs were not arranged on a table but on a coffin. She was just about to open the coffin when she woke up screaming; in hindsight, she knew that her dream was an omen of death.

As Lorraine finished her work in another part of the house, she heard John rummaging through the closets in the kitchen. When she went over to see what he was doing, she found that he was collecting all the alcohol in the house. Gleefully, John announced that they were going to have “a few friends” over for drinks that night. It was to be a quiet, intimate gathering, something of which he was sure the Pigman would approve.

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