Chapter 7

In this chapter, John asserts very boldly that Lorraine is no different in fibbing than he is except that her lies are eerie and make you feel anxious, like her belief that there were bad omens when they met Mr. Pignati at the zoo. He also comments that if she keeps eating the way she is, she won’t be voluptuous; she’ll be just plain fat.

The next day after school, Norton and Dennis are more than curious about where Lorraine and John are headed that day. So to prevent them from knowing about the Pigman, they agree to have a beer with them in the cemetery. They sit on top of the Masterson’s tomb and peek down inside the two glass domes. John likes to go there, because he believes cemeteries are some of the loveliest places in the world. He remembers one night going to an area where the grass wasn’t kept cut and no one placed any flowers on the graves. He lay down on his back and looked up at the stars; he was so drunk he thought he could feel the earth spinning under him. It occurred to him that the body buried beneath him could only be six or even four feet away and he imagined how the body must look. He felt sad about the dead there, not because they died, but because he was more interested in what was going to happen to him. Even now, John wants to see ghosts, because he thinks that will prove that there’s a chance after he dies that he will do more than just decay.

That night, John is able to get away from home after having dinner with his parents. It’s a terrible ordeal for him, because his mother is terrified that he and his father will have a heated discussion and his father tries to convince him to work at the Coffee Exchange like he and his brother, Kenny, do. John tries to make his father understand that he’s more interested in being an actor and that his father needs to see that he is much more individualistic than the rest of his family. His father doesn’t recognize that John is searching for himself and what he’ll be. He only cautions him to think about the rest of his family a little more, because they won’t be around forever and someday he might regret how he treats them.

Lorraine tells her mother she has to go to the library and meets John at Mr. Pignati’s house. The Pigman is unbelievably happy to see them and gives them another glass of wine. John Notes again how cluttered and shabby Mr. Pignati’s house looks with “the kind of furniture you see everybody put out on the street for the Sanitation Department in the spring.” When Mr. Pignati insists that they make themselves at home, John and Lorraine promptly begin to do so. They look through rooms, help themselves to food, and use his bathroom. Lorraine, after using the bathroom, comes downstairs with a photograph that turns out to be the Pigman’s wife, Conchetta, in her confirmation dress. The smile fades from his face when he sees it and he has to sit down. He puts the picture away with tears in his eyes and then, invites them to continue looking around while he gets more wine.

John goes upstairs and finds a room kept more neatly than the other rooms he has seen. His curiosity gets the better of him and he begins to look through drawers and the closet. He discovers in the closet only old clothing - dresses, hats and so forth - that probably belonged to Mrs. Pignati. In another drawer, he finds lots of paper, including a pamphlet entitled What Every Family Should Know. It explained what to do if a family member died and laying beside it, among some old jewelry and Mrs. Pignati’s Social Security card, was a bill from the Silver Lake Funeral Home for Conchetta Pignati’s funeral. John knows now that Mrs. Pignati is never coming home from California.

John’s commentary on Lorraine at the beginning of the chapter seems cruel on its face, but beneath the cruelty lie some interesting truths. John thinks Lorraine is voluptuous now which indicates that he is attracted to her as more than a friend. Also, the fact that she can make him feel anxious at times with her eerie thoughts indicates that she has more influence on him than she knows.

John’s description of the cemetery is also an indicator of certain aspects of his character: he thinks about death, probably believes there is no life after it, and yet hopes that he will have more than just a decaying body to look forward to. John is a much deeper thinker than his friends will ever know, even Lorraine. His conversation with his father is also significant in that it shows us his deep desire for something more than his father and his brother have achieved. Furthermore, when he relates his father’s warning that someday he will regret not spending more time with them and treating them better, he lets us know that he worries that maybe his father is right. For him, at least at this point in his life, the future is unsure and a little bleak. He appears very self-confident, but underneath his hard-as-nails exterior, he’s lacks self-esteem and is just a little frightened.

John and Lorraine are typical teens in that they accept Mr. Pignati’s generosity by eating his food and wandering through his house. Bringing out Conchetta’s picture was rude on the surface, but Lorraine’s decision to do so allows the reader to see the sad side of the Pigman once again. It also creates a tie with John’s musings about death when he lay in the cemetery and his discovery of the bill for Conchetta Pignati’s funeral. Death then becomes thematic in this chapter: John laying in the cemetery and wondering whether there’s life after death, his father warning him he’ll be sorry for not treating them better after they die, the picture of Conchetta, and her funeral bill. This creates a kind of foreshadowing for Mr. Pignati’s death as well, but it also gives us insight into how the topic will pertain to John and Lorraine. Death as part of life will be a hard lesson for them to learn and the learning process about dealing with death begins with this narrative.

Cite this page:

Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on The Pigman". . 09 May 2017