An Examination of the Novel, A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck

Categories: Robert Newton Peck

William Somerset Maugham stated that "when I read a book I seem to read it with my eyes only, but now and then I come across a passage, perhaps only a phrase, which has meaning for me, and it becomes part of me." This quote may be used to depict the feelings receive from the novel A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck. This work of fiction may be verified as a short book, however, through the reading, comprehending and understanding of this book, one may find that this book "will leave you better than it found you," as it is proclaimed by the Book-of-the-Month Club News.

The book incorporated meanings which is inevitably found in life, the phrases which are acted out by characters in the novel impacts the reader minds and has the ability to teach the readers ideas which revolved around the ideas of maturity, acceptance of life's changes and the importance of making one's own decision.

Get quality help now
checked Verified writer

Proficient in: Free Essays

star star star star 4.7 (657)

“ Really polite, and a great writer! Task done as described and better, responded to all my questions promptly too! ”

avatar avatar avatar
+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

The author imprinted the idea of maturity from a child to an adult which is an important stage in everybody's life, through the use of a character named Robert Peck in the novel, A Day No Pigs Would Die. Through the story, Robert was faced with many tough situations which strengthened him in personality and in character. Through all of the situations which Robert faced, he was finally able to assemble all the unpleasant occurrences and accept them, thus transformed him from a boy to a man. At the beginning of the novel, Robert was a regular twelve year old boy who did chores, went to school and lived under his parents' roof.

Get to Know The Price Estimate For Your Paper
Number of pages
Email Invalid email

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

"You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy"
Write my paper

You won’t be charged yet!

When working in the fields with his father, Robert demonstrated how he still had much to learn through consistent questions for his father. Like a boy, Robert had "wound up running away from" (9) many of his problems. But after running away from many of his problems, Robert realized that he had to face his fears. He had triumphantly and heroically helped a Holstein cow bear one of its calf's.

After this accomplishment, there were more trials which aided in the formation of Roberts maturation. One of the most impacting acts which Robert displays was when he decided that he would overcome his fear and that he'd be "feathered if I was going to run away from one darn more thing." (9) This act proved to the reader that one must overcome one's fears if there are plans to accomplish anything. As Theodore Roosevelt said, "there is nothing to fear, but to fear itself." Thus influencing the reader that everyone must overcome their fears no matter how tough the situation. In addition to this maturation, Robert has also learned to help around the house and start to understand the world in a different means with the death of his pig, Pinky and his father, Haven. When Haven Peck, Robert's father had butchered Robert's best friend, Pinky, Robert hated his father at that moment. After Pinky was butchered and lying on the floor lifeless, Robert cried because his "heart [was] broke," (129) in response to this, Haven had stated "so is mine, but I'm thankful you're a man." (129) at that moment in time, Haven had taught Robert that being a man is "just doing what's got to be done." (129)And it was then that Robert had seen his father cry, "the only time." (130) It were from these acts of maturation in Robert, which one may look to during the time of changes from and adolescent to an adult. Some things in life must happen, and this is one of the key points described in A Day No Pigs Would Die.

Robert is confronted with many situations of death. He had seen a frog being eaten by a crow, an eagle slay a rabbit, a dog kill a weasel, his father slaughter Pinky, and his ow fathers death. Throughout these examples, one may sense the pain Robert undergoes, yet from this novel, the acceptance of death becomes a part of life which the reader can start being willing to accept. In the novel, Roberts first encounters the sight of death when he saw a crow "drop out of [a] hickory tree like a big black stone," (44) and saw it "take] one clear sharp peck at that frog." (44) In response to this, Robert had only thought of how "he (the frog] tasted good" (44) and he hadn't focused on the idea of death. Through a bit of maturity the next time Robert witnessed death, he was able to make a sounder judgment on the idea of death. The second time Robert witnessed a death was when a "hawk came down, down, down" (62) and then the hawk "(drove] his talons into the heart or the lungs" (62) of a rabbit killing it.

At the exact moment when the rabbi was stabbed, it made a 'deathcry', from this sound Robert attained a feeling "full of pity" (62) he described the sound as the "only cry the rabbit makes its whole life ling. just that one deathcry and it's all over."(62) From this it demonstrates that Robert accepts the death of something he was never connected to. In addition to this death, Robert witnesses a his father and Ira Long trying to weasel a dog. To weasel a dog means to allow a dog and weasel to get in a fight so the next time a dog senses a weasel, it would sense danger. When the dog kills the weasel, the dog is badly wounded, "Ithe dog] was alive, but not much more. One of her ears were [torn] off and she was wet with blood." (103) At this sighting, Robert knew what had to be done. He told Ira Long that if [Ira] had any mercy at all, [he'd] do her in." (104) Robert had knew that death was coming, but he didn't want the dog to suffer therefore he knew that killing the dog would be the right thing to do. The next time Robert sees death it is with Pinky, it was then where Robert "hated his father] for killing (Pinky], and hated him for every pig he ever killed in his lifetime...for hundreds and hundreds of butchered hogs." (127) however after Pinky died, Haven put his hand on Roberts cheek, and "it wasn't the hand that killed hogs.

It was almost as sweet as Mama's. His hand was rough and cold. I opened my eyes to look at it, I could see that his knuckles were dripping with pig blood. It was the hand that just butchered Pinky. He did it. Because he had to. Hated to and had to." (129) This was one for the final acts which changed Robert's perspective on death. He finally realized that killing Pinky was necessary to feed the family. To show Haven that he had forgiven him, Robert "kissed his hand again and again, with all of its stink and fatty slime of dead pork. So [Haven would] understand that [Robert would] forgive him even if he killed [Robert]." (129, 130) From this, Robert learned that there was no other possibility, "it's just about doing what's got to be done" (129) and that they should carry on. When Haven had died, Robert did all that needed to be done; he had called the family's closest friends, and a minister. Haven was buried in the family plot, the orchards. During the ceremony of Haven's death, Robert had taken care of everything, he hadn't cried for he learned to accept death. When Robert found his father, breathless in the barn, he simply told his father that "he] can sleep this morning. (There was] no cause to rouse yourself. I'll do the chores. There's no need to work anymore. You just rest." (131) And like Robert had said, he took care of all of the chores and went through the day as any other.

From all of these images of death in the story, the author, Peck stated that "it's just about doing what's got to be done" (129) and this is one of the main messages that the reader is tainted with after reading this novel. This phrase which was demonstrated through the book has become a part of the reader and has taught the reader to accept all the happenings in life, tragic or joyous. Robert Newton Peck had also incorporated passages which revolved around the idea of individual thinking. Robert and his family are supposed to be Shakers, Shakers naturally follow the Shaker book and live their life according to the rules of the book. However, in the novel, the Peck family only follows some of the rule in the book. When Robert asked his father if he "believed in all the Shaker Law," (33) Haven had replied with a "most." This demonstrates that even a certain person of a certain religion can hold the same beliefs in the religions; however they don't have to practice everything in the book. This act proves to the reader that no matter what, people still have the ability to make decisions for themselves.

Throughout the book, the main principle in the Shaker Book practiced by the Peck family revolved around the rules of manners, and the rules to not have desires for unnecessary things. Throughout the story, the Pecks follow the Book of the Shakers, however, there are times when even though dedicated followers, they do not apply all of the Shaker rules to their life. Each member of the Pecks behaves in ways which may not be looked highly upon in the Shaker ways, thus displaying their individuality and ability to make their own decisions. Robert Peck at the start of the novel had run away from most of his problems, he had even cut school on account that he'd been made fun of by his classmate. This act is looked down on, however, Robert still commits to it and follows what he feels he must do. Robert's mom also has her own opinions which differ from her older sisters, even though both are Shakers.

To have sex while widowed is somewhat "shameful" (76) in the Shaker world, however, Robert's mom shows that it is okay when she states that "if Iris Bascom and her man giggle in the dark, they can have my blessing for whatever it's worth." (78) From these few examples, it can be seen that one must make decisions for themselves, and that through independent thinking; the world can be seen differently, not wrongly. Through the book A Day No Pigs Would Die, William Somerset Maugham's statement is seen as true. From the acts and phrases stated by characters in the book, one could not walk away without having taken a piece of the book with them. This can be told true after reading A Day No Pigs Would Die, where a reader would achieve the thoughts of maturity, learn to accept the changes which are inevitable in life and learn to have independent thinking.

Updated: May 13, 2023
Cite this page

An Examination of the Novel, A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck. (2023, May 13). Retrieved from

An Examination of the Novel, A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck essay
Live chat  with support 24/7

👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!

Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.

get help with your assignment