What is John like according to Lorraine in Paul Zindel's The Pigman?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Lorraine's perspective of John is sweet and kind. She feels like he portrays himself worse that he really is. For example, John writes the first chapter and talks about him smoking, swearing, drinking, bombing bathrooms, and rolling fruit to scare substitute teachers. He basically shows his rebel side and Lorraine clarifies in chapter 2 that he isn't as bad as he portrays himself to be. She says that he gets away with all of the rebellious things he does because he's "extremely handsome" (7). When they first met on the bus, he seemed very odd to her, too, because he just laughed and laughed at nothing whatsoever, and he made her laugh, too. So, he's probably goofy as well. She also gives a more direct characterization of John in the following passage:

"He's six feet tall already, with sort of longish brown hair and blues eyes. He has these gigantic eyes that look right through you, especially if he's in the middle of one of his fantastic everyday lies" (8).

She even goes on to say that the source of the problem is his family. His dad used to give him alcohol to drink, which can never be a good message to send; but, his parents are older and don't seem to know how to bond with him in a loving way. Aside from that, however, John is compassionate and fun. He makes immature mistakes, but he honestly cares for people like Mr. Pignati and he likes to have fun. For example, he doesn't mind skating around the house, making fun of mall floorwalkers, and and throwing parties. 

One of the best descriptions of John that Lorraine makes is as follows:

"John has made an art out of it (making prevarications). He prevaricates just for prevaricating's sake. It's what they call a compensation syndrome. His own life is so boring when measured against his daydreams that he can't stand it, so he makes up things to pretend it's exciting" (27).

Basically, he's a liar; but that's a fun way to say it. Lorraine turns out to be John's proverbial Jiminy Cricket, though; so they even each other out in the end.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What are John and Lorraine like in the novel "The Pigman"?

John is an artistic, talented, misunderstood, ingenious, and oppressed teen who does what he can to add a little color to his life. He lives under the control of his father and obsessive mother who neither understand him or value his talents. He spends his days playing pranks on his parents and teachers in order to feel as though he controls some part of his life and has even developed a drinking and smoking habit to escape his dreary life. John is also very sensitive and compassionate, especially to Lorraine.

Lorraine is John's best friend. She is intelligent, thoughtful, shy, insecure, paranoid, and emotionally abused by her mother who says she is ugly and clumsy. She is as sensitive and compassionate as John, and she often writes moving stories about those around her. Her passions are psychology and writing.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on