This Little Piggy

This Little Piggy

by Mother Goose

This little piggy went to market,

This little piggy stayed home,

This little piggy had roast beef,

This little piggy had none.

This little piggy went …

Wee, wee, wee,
all the way home!

Summary of This Little Piggy

  • Popularity of “This Little Piggy”: This nursery rhyme was written by Mother Goose, a famous imaginary author of French fairy tales and many other famous nursery rhymes. It is popular due to its innocent subject matter. It was first published in 1760 in The Famous Tommy Thumb’s Little Story-Book. The poem comprises the story of a pig who passes through several stages before he is brought to the market. This poem is also taught as fingerplay rhyme. The poem is popular even after so many years of publication and is still read and taught in different pre-school syllabuses across the globe.
  • “This Little Piggy” As a Representative of Wonder: This poem is about the life of real farm pigs. Here’s a little piggy is well fed and is taken to the market. The pig thinks that the visit is perhaps to buy food for itself. However, it is brought to the market to be slaughtered and sold as food. The expression of wonder starts from the first line and runs throughout the poem. In spite of the poem’s dark origin, there are different interpretations. The reader cannot tell if the little piggy life is either spared from death or it is indeed led to the slaughter, but in its mind, it feels safe.
  • Major Themes in “This Little Piggy”: Happiness and fear are the major themes in the poem. The poem deals with the life of pigs. The writer narrates how they are fed, kept at home and then sold in the market. They are kept in proper care. Some are sold and some escape from the looming shadow of death. The cry “wee, wee, wee” is usually heard when the pigs are tied up.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in “This Little Piggy”

Literary devices are tools that enable the writers to enhance their simple texts to bring richness and uniqueness in the texts and open multiple interpretations. Mother Goose has used a few literary devices in this poem. The analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem has been given below.

  • Imagery: Imagery is used to make the readers perceive things with their five senses. The entire rhyme is imagery to visualize the life of the little piggy and its routine.
  • Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line in quick succession such as the sound of /t/ in “This little piggy went to market”.
  • Assonance: An assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line such as the sound of /i/ in “This little piggy had none” and /e/ sound in “This little piggy went to market”.
  • Hyperbole: Hyperbole is a figure of speech in which the writer purposefully exaggerates something to an extreme. For example, “This little piggy had none” the piggy was not literally starving, and instead, it represents the condition of the pig before it was taken to the market.
  • Anaphora: It refers to the repetition of a word or expression in the first part of some verses. For example, “This little piggy” is repeated in all the lines except two last lines.
  • Onomatopoeia: It refers to the words which imitate the natural sounds of the things. The poet has used the word “wee” in the second last line of the poem.
  • Symbolism: Symbolism is a use of symbols to signify ideas and qualities by giving them symbolic meanings different from their literal meanings. The expression such as, “Wee, wee, wee” symbolizes the cry of the pigs being led to slaughter.

Analysis of Poetic Devices in “This Little Piggy”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  • Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There five verses in the poem and a couplet.
  • Rhyme Scheme: The poem doesn’t follow any rhyme scheme.
  • Repetition: There is a repetition of the words “This little piggy” which has created a musical quality in the poem.
  • Refrain: The lines that are repeated at some distance in the poems are called refrain. The phrase, “This little piggy” it has become a refrain as it has been repeated throughout the poem.

Quotes to be used

The lines stated below can be used while teaching phonics to the children. You can also use the entire poem to count fingers and toes.

“This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none.”