Chapter 12

This chapter opens with Lorraine’s conversation with her mother about her mother’s current patient who is “all hands.” Lorraine listens dutifully and then leaves for school with her mother’s final complaint intended for her: “Don’t you think that skirt is a little too short?” It’s just another example of the paranoia Lorraine’s mother has about men. When she arrives at school, John, too, has cleaned up and has combed his hair. Their new feelings make them want to look good for each other. They go to the public phone and call the hospital where they learn that Mr. Pignati will be kept in the hospital for 72 hours or past the danger period when a second heart attack could occur. He will be allowed to come home Saturday if he is doing well at that point.

Lorraine muses at this point in the chapter about how lovely the dinner with John had been. She says it is the first time she is glad to be alive, as if “she had been told about something, something wonderful, something beautiful waiting just for her. All she had to do was wait long enough.”

Every day that week, John and Lorraine go to Mr. Pignati’s house and have dinner or just snacks and beer. On Friday, they cut school and Lorraine makes breakfast for John. Unfortunately, it is a series of burned toast, cold eggs, and bad coffee. He then refuses to take the garbage out and help with the dishes and an argument ensues. However, Lorraine knows “how maladjusted John is” and realizes he’s upset about more than breakfast, dishes, or garbage. So, she lets him pout, because his funny mood has been building every since they kissed, something that makes her smile a bit. Eventually, John offers to take out the garbage and they both work hard to clean Mr. Pignati’s house before he comes home from the hospital. While they clean, Lorraine reminisces about the nightmare she had about the dark room where the Pigman stored all the pig figurines. In this nightmare, she imagines the pigs all arranged on a long, dark container of some kind and she is being propelled by unseen hands closer and closer to it. She screams out John’s name, but he doesn’t come to help her, even as she feels helpless to reach down and open the lid of what she now knows is a coffin. At this point, she awakens from the nightmare and thinks she should have known it was an omen of death.

Lorraine is admiring how clean and neat the house is when John calls her to the kitchen. He has found all the liquor and beer in the house and had arranged it on the kitchen table. Now he announces that they are going to have a few friends over for drinks that night. Lorraine can only respond, “Are you crazy?”

It’s very significant that Lorraine and John both begin to dress better when they go to school or are together: they are very much more aware of the growing feelings they have for each other and are anxious to look their best. John even wears cologne! John, however, has allowed these feelings to make him irritable and only Lorraine’s deep understanding about what makes him tick keeps his irritability from affecting their relationship.

John’s decision to have a party at Mr. Pignati’s house hearkens back to Lorraine’s misgivings about taking the Pigman’s keys. She should have known John had some essentially innocent, yet ulterior, motive which could blow up in their faces. It also foreshadows the tragedy that is yet to befall them. Two other examples of foreshadowing include: the hospital saying Mr. Pignati could not go home until Saturday and Lorraine’s nightmare. The Saturday arrival date seems to indicate that the party can go off without him ever knowing, but John’s ideas often have the tendency to go out of control, so the reader knows what can happen. Lorraine’s nightmare once again predicts death. The reader could pass this off as just her imagination in full gear, but she has been a very intuitive character throughout the novel, so it’s something we should keep in mind as the novel comes to a close.

Cite this page:

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