A Day No Pigs Would Die is a story that Robert Peck wrote to show the reader his adolescent life, fate, and the journey from boyhood to manhood. Peck leads the reader through the intricate web of his youth, almost as though he were a stitching needle. The author makes sure not to miss a single stomach pumping detail, leaving the reader, well, not quite wanting more.
As a young Shaker boy, Robert lived with his mother Lucy, father Haven, and his aunt carrie. The novel begins with a vivid scene in which he helps bring a calf into the world up on the ridge above their farm. The mother seemed to have been posessed by some force of the underworld, causing her, her calf, and Rob a great deal of pain. Robert learns at an early age the value of a simple life, hard work,
I now appreciate the hardships that rural life brings. He knows that when his father dies, he will become the man of the house, and he will be in charge of his mother and his aunt. While other boys his age spend their time playing, Robert helps his father on the farm and does his own daily chores, while raising a pig in hopes of supplementing the family income. Haven develops a cough, and eventually has to start sleeping out in the barn with the animals since it is warmer there, and he is worried about his wife becoming ill aswell. Robert's father becomes ill with a lung disease, and does all he can to help his son be ready to be the head of their household. After a few years of preparation and rigorous teaching, Haven does not wake up one morning out in the barn. He jumps right into his father's boots, and is allowed to, for the first time, call his neighbors by their first names. Robert grows up feeling this constant sense of predestination, with his whole life planned out before his eyes only making him feel even more the urge to break free and live free. He is destined to become a farmer just like his father, on the same land he grew up on. The role fate plays in this story is Robert's future, and how he will make a living. If one was going to be a farmer, as the boy was destined to be in this story, than that is all he will get out of his life. Robert does his best to be a man, and to make sure to keep his immature feelings concealed. Robert would like very much to become famous, but he is resticted in that it is against his religion.