Chapter 14

The police arrive and help Lorraine load the drunken John into a squad car. His parting comment that they are just lucky that the old man isn’t pressing charges doesn’t make up for how terrible they feel. John’s horror at what he’s done will only hit after he wakes up, but for Lorraine, it’s happening right then. She’s told by the police that the last they saw of Mr. Pignati, he was walking up the stairs with Conchetta’s torn dress over his arm, crying. They police admit that they’re curious to know what kind of parents she and John have, implying that they’ve been raised poorly. They also have seen the two of them in the Pigman’s house before, so they’ve been watching them. Lorraine is angry at John for getting them into this mess, but she’s angrier at him for having passed out when she needs him the most.

The police take Lorraine home and tell her mother what she’s done. Her mother slaps her across the face and the police stand by and do nothing. When she gets inside, she thinks about how she would like to tell her mother how she’s to blame, because she never notices who she really is and that she wasn’t the little girl getting on the bus to school anymore. Her mother just slaps her again before Lorraine can say anything. Then, her mother breaks down crying and Lorraine knows her mother wants her to run to her, asking for forgiveness. However, Lorraine knows that it’s the Pigman who has to forgive her, not her mother. Eventually, she tells her mother everything about the Pigman and how she and John had befriended him. After her confession, she feels better, because her mother takes all this information relatively well. Then, her mother messes up this moment of trust by asking, “You’re sure the old man didn’t try anything with you?” Lorraine turns her head away from her mother, knowing now that she can never really understand.

Lorraine tells us she wanted to call Mr. Pignati and tell him they didn’t mean to be destructive, that they were just playing. It reminds her of a kitten she once saw which attacked a rubber ball. She thought at the time that it was practicing for the time it might have to kill to survive and that play would eventually became destruction.

She meets up with John around 11:00 the next morning at the bus stop corner where he tells her his father is making him see a psychiatrist. Lorraine tells him not to worry, that his father will forget in a day or two. He relates to us, however, something that impacted him profoundly: his father looked sick and old when the police brought him home. John asks Lorraine if the Pigman was all right and she says, “Why do you care?” so he knows she blamed him. Then, she feels badly for having said it.

They go to a phone booth and call Mr. Pignati. John speaks first and apologizes for what they did and promises they’ll pay for the damages. They beg to be allowed to help him clean up, but he says it’s already done. So they invite him to go to the zoo with them that afternoon. He agrees, if somewhat reluctantly, and they meet him there at 12:30. He’s late so they wonder if he’s really going to come at all. They buy peanuts for Bobo, determined to at least do that for Mr. Pignati, when he suddenly pulls up in a taxi. He looks absolutely pathetic to Lorraine, because he walks so much more slowly and he has lost weight. There is also no smile on his face. He seems glad to see them, however, and Lorraine believes he had forgiven them or he wouldn’t have come. They take the train around the zoo which is looking more shabby since it’s still cold weather, but Mr. Pignati finally smiles as they get off at the primate house. He goes up to the rail at Bobo’s cage and begins calling his name. The baboon doesn’t come out and an attendant tells them that Bobo had died the week before. Mr. Pignati is shattered and lets out a scream that fills Lorraine’s nightmares for weeks after. It is a scream that comes from deep inside of him and he drops to the floor, while all the other monkeys begin screaming, too, and pulling at the bars of their cages. Mr. Pignati is dead.

The reactions of John’s parents and Lorraine’s mother are not surprising. These are both extremely dysfunctional families who don’t understand their children and have no idea how to help them. They can never understand what prompted the two to have this party, because they have never taken the time to understand them in any other situation they may have experienced. They are too wrapped up in surviving within unstable lives themselves to ever see the needs of their children. What’s most sad is the fact that Lorraine and John know this about the very people they need the most. It is a devastating thought and that’s why they turn to Mr. Pignati again for the support their parents can’t or won’t provide. They think that taking him to the zoo will make him forgive them and his forgiveness is something they want and need desperately. Unfortunately, Mr. Pignati is unable to deal with one more betrayal – his wife’s death, Lorraine and John taking advantage of his friendship and the loss of Bobo - and his heart finally gives out. Ironically, the other monkeys intuitively realize that he’s died and seem to scream in grief for this man who had become a part of their daily lives.

Cite this page:

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