The Pigman by Paul Zindel
When sophomores John and Lorraine played a practical joke a few months ago on a stranger named Angelo Pignati, they had no idea what they were starting. Virtually overnight, almost against their will, the two befriended the lonely old man; it wasn't long before they were more comfortable in his house than their own. But now Mr. Pignati is dead. And for John and Lorraine, the only way to find peace is to write down their friend's story -- the story of the Pigman.
Notes and assignments are available for download at the bottom of the page.
Did You Know?
The Time & Place
The story takes place in Staten Island, New York, in the late 1960s. During this period, public protests against racial discrimination and the war in Vietnam helped create a climate of rebelliousness against authority. Some teenagers openly rebelled by engaging in bad habits such as smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, and using profanity. Teenagers held marches and sit-ins against the draft, demanded that their schools give them a voice in what they studied, and struggled to gain greater political power.
Staten Island, the setting of The Pigman, is the smallest of five boroughs that make up New York City, the largest city in the United States. A borough is a political division unique to New York City. The other four boroughs, in order of size from largest to smallest, are Brooklyn (which until the 1890s was a separate city), Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx. In total, these boroughs make up a city of over 7 million people.
When most Americans speak of New York City, they generally mean Manhattan, the home of Wall Street, the nation’s financial capital, and Broadway, the nation’s chief theater district. Staten Island residents are able to reach Manhattan by ferry.
Life in the 1960s:
The baby boom resulted in 70 million teenagers in the 1960s. That’s a lot of kids. And there was a lot going on. Dance crazes like the Twist. John F. Kenney’s "Ask not what your country can do for you” speech. Martin Luther King Jr. announced he had a dream. The Beatles. The Vietnam War. Protesting. Woodstock. Barbie dolls, GI Joes and Troll Dolls were popular during this era.
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