A Day No Pigs Would Die Study Guide

A Day No Pigs Would Die By Robert Newton Peck

Discussion Questions:

Chapters 1 and 2

  1. In chapter 1, why does Robert run away from school? Has any similar situation ever happened to you?
  2. Why does Robert stop to help Apron?
  3. What is Robert's father's name?
  4. What does Papa say will help Robert's arm heal where Apron bit him? Is this medical practice still usedtoday?
  5. What does Robert tear out of Apron's throat?
  6. Describe Papa's smell and why his smell is important.
  7. What does Papa bring for Robert to chew? Why would Robert want it?
  8. Why does Robert decide not to complain about his pain? Think about what Papa says to him.
  9. What is the name of Robert's home town?
  10. Why do you think Robert's parents don't take him to the doctor?

Chapters 3 and 4

  1. Why does Papa say fences are good?
  2. What is the most "evil thing" in a Shaker household? Why?
  3. What does Robert name his pig? What are your pets' names?
  4. How does Papa know that you can't keep pigs and cows, or kine and swine, under the same roof?
  5. How does Papa justify taking the milk from the lost cow?
  6. Describe how and why Robert and Papa move the heavy corn crib away from the barn.
  7. What is Robert's least favorite Shaker law? Which would be your least favorite?
  8. Why can't Haven Peck vote?
  9. How does Papa think the townspeople feel about him? Why?
  10. Why does Papa say the family is rich? What does he mean?
  11. What is Papa's "mission"?

Chapters 5 and 6

  1. What does Robert build in the tiny river? Describe it. Why would Robert build such a thing?
  2. What point was there in Robert trying to teach a bullfrog to jump backward?
  3. After whom was Robert named?
  4. Robert points out many beautiful things in nature. Describe one of them.
  5. Who is Aunt Matty?
  6. Why does Aunt Matty want to tutor Robert? Describe the misunderstanding Robert has about tutoring.
  7. What religion is Aunt Matty? What does Robert think of members of her religion?
  8. What does Aunt Matty draw for Robert? What might it have looked like?
  9. What does Aunt Matty think of the lesson she has with Robert?
  10. How did Robert feel on the last day of school? How will you feel?

Chapters 7 and 8

  1. Describe what Robert sees in the scene with the hawk.
  2. What and how much does Pinky eat?
  3. What will be Pinky's job when she grows up?
  4. Describe the sunset that Robert sees.
  5. What is Mr. Hillman doing out in the storm? Why?
  6. Why does Papa say he brought a gun?
  7. Why do you think Mr. Hillman feels so good when he gets into the wagon with Robert and Papa?
  8. What does Mrs. Hillman say about the incident?
  9. What does "desecrate" mean?
  10. Do you agree with Mr. Hillman's decision to move the body? Explain.

Chapters 9 and 10

  1. What is Mama's opinion on the Widow Bascom and her "hired hand."
  2. What is Aunt Carrie's opinion about the same?
  3. Tell about Robert's "run-in" with the Widow Bascom.
  4. What happens when Robert meets the widow after she has hired Ira Long?
  5. Why can't Robert and his family go to the fair?
  6. How does Robert get to go to the fair?
  7. Why does Robert decide not to ask Mr. Tanner "why he didn't just wed twins"?
  8. According to Robert, what is a "pervert"?
  9. How does Robert feel when he is in the ring with Bob and Bib?
  10. Why doesn't Robert care at the moment he sees the judge putting the ribbon on Pinky's neck?
  11. On what does Robert spend the 10¢ his aunt gave him?

Chapters 11 and 12

  1. Was Pinky the only pig to win "first prize"?
  2. What doesn't Robert tell his parents about the fair at Rutland?
  3. What happens with the weasel and Hussy?
  4. At the end of chapter 10, Robert acts in a very grown-up, demanding way. What does he do?
  5. Robert swears on the Book of Shaker at the end of chapter 11. What does he swear?
  6. What problem do Pinky and Aunt Matty share?
  7. What happened to this year's apple crop?
  8. According to Papa, how can you judge a man by his farm?
  9. How does Papa feel about being a butcher for others?
  10. Just before Papa tells Robert he is dying, Robert asks for something. What is it and why does it seem so silly to the reader after what Papa says?
  11. Why does Robert stay in by the fire after Papa tells him he has only one winter to become a man?

Chapters 13 and 14

  1. Why does Mr. Tanner bring over his prized boar?
  2. How does Robert feel about the act of breeding the two pigs?
  3. Robert says of his father to Mr. Tanner, "Papa works all the time. He don't never rest. And worse than that, he works inside himself. . . . Like he's been trying all his life to catch up to something. But whatever it is, it's always ahead of him, and he can't reach it." What do you think "it" is?
  4. What happened to Robert's brothers?
  5. What religion are Mr. and Mrs. Tanner? What is so unusual about that?
  6. Why does Papa stop sleeping with Mama?
  7. Why do they have to kill Pinky?
  8. What does Papa say being a man is all about?
  9. Why does Papa say Robert is a man after they kill her?
  10. What significant event happens at the end of chapter 14?
  11. How have things changed for Robert?

Chapter 15

  1. How does Papa die?
  2. What does Robert do after he finds Papa dead?
  3. What importance does this quote by Robert have: "When you're the only one to do something, it always gets done."
  4. What does Robert find in Papa's cigar box? Why is this important?
  5. What is "the day no pigs would die"?
  6. Why does Robert now agree that Papa wasn't poor?
  7. Robert figures out without asking why it would be improper to bury ropes with a coffin. Why?
  8. What does Robert do after Papa's funeral?
  9. Why is Papa being buried in the land he had sweated on so long ironic?
  10. What is the last thing Robert says to Papa?

From: http://www.holton.k12.ks.us/staff/jireland/Summer1999/pigslessons.htm

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