A Day No Pigs Would Die is a captivating novel that depicts many images of life and death throughout the story. It follows the life of Robert Peck who went through some rough times in his young life. He also had several happy moments including when he obtained his first real belonging, a pink piglet who he justifiably named Pinky. There were numerous dismal instances and just as many exuberant moments throughout the book that kept the reader interested and ready to see what happened next. This narrative displayed the idea that even though life has its ups and downs, everything will be okay in time.
Nearly every chapter has its share of new life, whether it is as clear as a litter of kittens being born or a little cloudier such as Haven and Robert Peck preparing a new home for Pinky at the start of her life with the Peck family. Each situation had a similar meaning that was just expressed in different ways. However, they all contributed in molding Robert’s personality and skills. For example, in chapter one of the novel, just as Apron’s calf had been brought into the world, Robert thought to himself, “I figured something either got dead or got born” (Peck 7).
This passage showed an obvious example of new life coming into the world. It also showed that Robert was a bright young boy and not only recognized when the cow needed help, but also knew what to do. A slightly different example of new life is when Ben Tanner gave Pinky to Robert, at which he declared, “‘Yours, my boy. Little enough for what you did” (Peck 21). In this section of the narrative, it wasn’t refering to when Pinky was born, but more of when she started her new life with Robert. It kicked off the beginning of a great deal of responsibility and hard work on Robert’s part.
Similarly, the chapters also had images of death that helped Robert mature and grow more dependable. Some were extremely abrupt and upsetting while others were more gradual. An abrupt example of death, was when Apron had a goiter stuck in her throat as Peck wrote in chapter one, “She would start to breath and then, like a cork in a bottle, some darn thing in there would cut it off” (Peck 7). Thanks to Robert’s rapid actions, she survives, however, one moment she was fine and the next she was nearly dead.
In contrast, Haven Peck’s death was more subtle. The novel took several opportunities to allow the reader to know about Haven’s disease, for example when Haven first told Robert he was dying in chapter twelve, “‘I feel like it’s over for me soon. Animals know when. And I reckon I’m more beast than man” (Peck 122). It shocked Robert to hear his father mention his upcoming death although, it prepared him so that he would not be as surprised a few months later when he discovered his deceased father lying in the barn.
Another instance that foreshadowed Haven’s death, took place after Robert heard of his infection and was watching the fire burn out, as the author wrote, “I was watching the red cinders turn gray. I stayed there until the fire died. So that it would not have to die alone” (Peck 122). This particular scene indicated a sorrowful mood. In addition, it foreshadowed Robert taking up more responsibilities in order to care for his family in the future. These are just two moments among several that suggest Haven’s outcome.
Together they allowed the reader, as well as Robert, to realize what is going to happen and to save both from the sudden surprise of his death by gradually introducing the idea of life without Papa. This required Robert to grow up and to effectuate his life by starting to care for the family. There were some examples in the book that were unlike others. Depending on how they were viewed, they could either be thought of as images of life, death, or both; each one had a major impact on Robert’s character. For instance, when Robert got knocked nconscious, by Apron, when trying to pull out the goiter in her throat, was an example of both life and death because he could have died.
However, he woke up. It was an example of death when the author wrote, “It should have been broad daylight, but it was night. Black night” (Peck 8). In strong contrast, it was an image of life when Peck soon after wrote, “So I blinked, but the fog was still there” (Peck 9). This situation showed that Robert was strong and didn’t give up easily but instead pulled through and continued making smart choices. Throughout the story. many more exciting opportunities took place as did more sad times.
Robert received Pinky in return for saving Apron and assisting her with giving birth to her calf. He relished the moments he spent with her and his newly born kittens and cried when Pinky’s life came to an end. He grieved with his mother, Lucy, and aunt, Carrie, over the death of his father. Despite the problems, Robert and the rest of the characters pulled through. aracters were stronger and more accustomed to change by the end. As the short excerpts showed, no matter how harsh the struggles are, how exciting some moments can be, or how difficult some responsibilities turn out, it will all be okay with time and thoughtful actions.