“Death of a Pig” by E.B. White
E.B. White tells a story about his unsuccessful attempt to save a pig. The pig has a life threatening illness and White attempts to save something he cares about. One of his jobs is to raise pigs and eventually slaughter them. Killing pigs is a common event in his life but the reader discovers that White actually cares for the pig and is sad about the loss. He first noticed that the there was something wrong with the pig when it doesn’t come for dinner. The following day the pig still hasn’t eaten. White later calls the vet and has him examined. He then realizes the seriousness of the illness. The essay reaches its emotional climax when the pigs soon dies.
The message of the essay is about taking health for granted. People go through life healthy and happy; most people never have to battle any major illnesses and they don’t expect anything to happen to their loved ones either. E.B. white learns this lesson from the loss of a pig he cared for. “News of the death of my pig traveled fast and far, and I received many expressions of sympathy from friends and neighbors, for no one took the event lightly.” This quote goes to say how people don’t expect or hear bad news as often, so when something does happen it’s surprising.
Situational irony is shown in the essay because the narrator was going to kill the pig for food anyways but instead the narrator becomes a doctor for the pig and the pig becomes precious to the narrator. The author also uses flashback in the beginning to show how the narrator’s emotions were able to appear again. The author does this to show how violence may have numbed his emotions and how after the pig dies he is able to gain morality.