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A Day No Pigs Would Die

Chapter 10

Summary Chapter 10

When Robert wakes up, he is back in Pinky's stall, and Mr. Tanner asks how he feels, to which Robert replies, "Hungry." Mr. Tanner tells Robert to look at Pinky's neck. There hangs a blue ribbon with gold lettering saying, "FIRST PRIZE FOR BEST-BEHAVED PIG."

Analysis

At the Rutland fair, we see Robert out of his element for the first time. Throughout the fair Robert is constantly amazed by the size, speed, and busyness of Rutland. He has no idea how to react to things like separate stalls for men and women's bathrooms. He also clearly has no idea of the value of money, as is shown when he trades his ten cent piece—which was quite a sum for a boy in those times—for a used piece of saddle soap. Leading Bib and Bob around the ring, Robert feels an intense wave of pride sweep over him. He wishes that his parents, friends, and the whole town of Learning could be there to see him in his moment of glory.

As the relationship between Robert and Pinky developed in the earlier chapters, it seemed more and more like that Pinky was filling the role that should have been played by a human friend in Robert's life. Robert mentions friends that he used to play with, but in the time frame spanned by A Day No Pigs Would Die, he never sees any of them. Perhaps not so pleased by the way his friends treated him anyway, Robert replaces them with Pinky, and when Pinky wins the blue ribbon it is evidence to Robert that he made the right choice. When Robert says that he wishes Jacob Henry, one of the aforementioned friends, could be there, the real reason he does so seems to be so that he can brag that he has the best friend in Learning. When he says that he wishes that the whole town of learning could be there to see him, it seems like he wants them to be there because he still felt like he had something to prove to them. He still cares what other people think of him, having not quite taken Haven's, "I am rich and they are poor," lesson to heart. After he vomits, when Robert wakes up, it is as if he has purged himself of the corruptions of Rutland and returned to his old priorities, responding to Mr. Tanner's question about how he feels simply by saying, "Hungry."

At the fair, Pinky wins a blue ribbon for being the best-behaved pig raised by a child. This title is by far the best that Pinky could possibly have won, considering how it appeals to Robert's values. The one word of advice the Mr. Peck gives Robert after he drops him off is, "manners." This, above all other things is what Haven wants his son to have, so when Pinky wins the prize for having the best manners, it speaks to everything that Robert has ever been taught. As much as Haven is a father to Robert, Robert is a father to Pinky. Like Robert, Pinky is not the most beautiful pig, nor the biggest, nor the best groomed, but he is the best behaved. And that is what is important for Robert and the Pecks.