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"Death of a Pig" Analysis

"Death of a Pig" Analysis

Through White’s limited emphasis on the pig and his life, White sets up an ambiguous piece, with aspects of both confessional and even whimsical style, when the expectation lies in perhaps a eulogistic or mournful approach, in his iconoclastic piece, which contributes to his overall purpose of transformation and reworking, of himself and society, through an affective use of extended metaphor and sarcasm.
White opens with a periodic sentence that sets up the rest of the piece as a confessional in “I feel driven to account for this stretch of time,” and later communicating that his drive is the result of the pig’s death. This sense of justification is seen in the first sentence as well as in the rest of the piece, the former of which being the product of guilt, seen in the length of the sentence and the numerous conjunctions, both contributing to the sense of a floundering excuse. His self-condemnation is later apparent in his portrayal of himself as a flawed actor who is responsible for the wreckage of the entire play. This representation is conveyed through an extended metaphor, and the use of the device contributes not only to the understanding of his shame, but also presents an absurdly foolish comparison to his role, and the period of his life. Through his extended metaphor, his comprehension of the absurdity of his situation—stealing and tending to a lowly pig—is apparent as he even describes himself as “a farcical character” and embellishes his already laughable situation with “an enema bag for a prop,” and having a particularly humanized dog—the purpose of which is to further satirize society in its ability to extend its doting to a dog, but arbitrarily exclude a pig—for a partner. This absurdity can be attributed to his overall mockery of society, in that man tends to abide by tradition simply due to the fact that it’s tradition. This “act” is introduced by describing a pig’s slaughter as a “[premeditated] murder…whose fitness is seldom questioned,”...

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