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Free Study Guide-A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
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Pinky truly becomes a pet pig, looking to Robert for protection. When the pig is startled by the caw of a crow, she jumps into the boy's arms, seeking safety. When a crayfish latches on to her snout, Pinky squeals until Robert pulls it off. Pinky also goes for walks with Robert, and the boy talks to her as if she were human. When he builds a flutterwheel across the stream, he tells Pinky to watch "real close and careful" to see it turn. Robert also tells Pinky about how his father once tricked him. When the boy asked his Pa about eating a frog's front legs, Mr. Peck answered that Robert should catch a big bullfrog and teach it to jump backwards to make its front legs bigger and better for eating. Not realizing that his father was kidding, Robert caught a bullfrog and struggled all morning to teach it to jump backwards. When Mr. Peck saw his son with the bullfrog, he could not help but give a big smile, a rare thing for him to do. Robert also tells Pinky that he was named after Major Robert Rogers. Although he was supposedly a Shaker, he wore a buckskin shirt and trousers, like the Indians, whom he hated and fought in both Vermont and New York.

At evening time, Robert always heads for home to do his chores; he knows that if he misses chore time, his papa will be angry. When he races home with Pinky on this particular April evening, his mother is waiting for him. She takes him to the barn and shows him Miss Sarah with her three newly born kittens. Robert thinks they are "the prettiest kittens you'd see anywhere." Mama simply says, new life is "a wondrous thing to see."


Containing little action, Chapter 5 does not really further the plot. After attending Sunday Shaker meeting, Robert goes for a walk with Pinky, who has truly become a pet pig. Robert plays with the pig, racing her home in the evening; he also talks to Pinky and protects her when she is frightened. It is obvious that Pinky eases some of the loneliness of Robert's stern and somber Shaker existence.

During the chapter, Robert is pictured much like any young boy on a lazy April afternoon. He wanders through the meadow, up to the ridge, where he builds a flutterwheel in the stream. He looks for butternuts and cracks them for Pinky to eat. He watches his pig play with a frog in the water and remembers the time he tried to teach a bullfrog to jump backwards. Robert also looks for frogs to catch so that Pinky can have a taste of frog legs.

Mr. and Mrs. Peck are also developed a little more in the chapter. In a flashback, Robert remembers how his father tricked him and then smiled over his mischief; such humor in his stern father is a rarity. Mrs. Peck's gentle side is further shown when she waits for Robert to return home and immediately shows him the newborn kittens; she is awed by the miracle of their birth and tells her son it is a "wondrous thing." Like all Shakers, she has a great respect for life.

It is important to note the incongruous picture presented of Major Robert Rogers, for whom Robert is named. Although a Shaker, he was an Indian hater who fought the Iroquois in New York and Vermont. He also refused to dress like a Shaker, preferring a buckskin shirt, long trousers, and "no stockings." Robert is proud to be named after such a brave man.

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