| Free Study Guide/Summary for A Day No Pigs
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When Robert talks about how much he hurts, his father tells him not to complain; but Mr. Peck also shows his softer side, for he has brought Robert some spruce gum to chew and some sumac to make into a whistle. He reminds him that a boy with a fine whistle “won’t have no earthy reason to skip school.” Once again, Robert agrees with his father.
When Papa stands up to leave Robert’s room, he gently pulls the quilt
up around his son. Robert smells the hard work and “stale death” on his
father’s hands. Mr. Peck, as always, has been killing pigs, for it how
he makes a living. The only time that he smells different is on Sunday,
for Papa always bathes on Saturday night so that he will be fresh at the
Shaker meeting the next day.
This chapter introduces Robert’s family. Mr. Peck is a big, tall man who is proud by nature; he is also strict and stern, but has a gentle side to him. When Mr. Tanner carries Robert home, Mr. Peck tells him that if Robert has caused any problems, he will make it right. Later in the evening, he scolds Robert for skipping school; at the same time, he gives him fresh sumac from which to carve a whistle. Then he gently reminds his son that a boy with a fine whistle has no need to skip school. He also treats him to some spruce gun to help him forget his pains, but he tells him not to complain.
Mr. Peck is a hard-working farmer, a pig butcher, and a practical man. He expects his only son to work just like him. He believes that Robert needs to apply himself in school so that he can sign checks and manage a business in the future. When he sees Robert’s hurt arm, he is practical about it. He lets the wound bleed to free it of infection and then has his wife sew it up. He is also a religious man. After working hard all week and smelling like stale death, Mr. Peck bathes on Saturday nights so he will be fresh and presentable for the Shaker meeting that he always attends on Sunday.
In contrast to her stern husband, Mrs. Peck is always soft and gentle. She tenderly cares for Robert, washing his wounds and calling him poor lamb. She makes him a special dinner and brings it to his room. When she is called by her husband to stitch up Robert’s arm, she is as gentle as she can possibly be. Robert appreciates her care and refuses to scream or cry out, even though it hurts greatly.
Robert is greatly influenced by his parents and their Shaker beliefs. Even before he is fully conscious, he tries to explain about skipping school. When his father scolds him for his behavior, he readily agrees that his father is correct. It is also obvious that he has great respect for both his parents.
It is important to note the dialogue in this chapter. It is the first time it is used in the novel since Robert was alone in the first chapter. The colloquial, country language used by the characters helps to develop them as real people.
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TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on A Day No Pigs Would Die".
. 09 May 2017