An Analysis of The Pearl by John Steinbeck Free Essay Example

April 13, 2022 by Essay Writer

One of the primary styles of the novel, The Pearl, which was written by John Steinbeck, is the damaging force of greed. The author provided this concept in a range of methods in the story such as the usage parallelism of the imagery to the characters in the unique, the setting of the story that justifies the characters’ actions, and the abrupt improvement of the characters.

Essentially, the story takes location in depressed Mexican-Indian neighborhood in La Paz where the book’s two main characters, Kino, a poor pearl diver, and his partner, Juana, live in.

While the story revolves primarily around the life of the couple, especially, Keno, the author utilized them to symbolize the impoverished state of the community in which they live in. The story begins with Coyotito being stung by a harmful scorpion. When Kino and Juana were not able to treat their kid, who was revealed to be in severe discomfort, they took him to a doctor.

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However, the doctor, upon discovering that the couple did not have any money, turns them away and pretended to be not available at the minute.

In this part of the story, Steinbeck currently demonstrated how greed played an important function in negatively affecting the lives of Kino and Juana through for a little while moving the focus of characterization. The doctor, who is bound by an oath that compels him to assist all those who are sick, no matter their financial status, declined to treat the couple’s child because he was greedy and did not want to treat them unless he gets paid with cash.

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The physician likewise signified the obstacles and injustice that Kino faces in their impoverished neighborhood, which was, in a manner, used to justify his greedy actions later on in the book.

Furthermore, using nature’s imagery in the very first chapter of the unique typically mirrored Kino’s character. In the opening chapter 1, Kino deeply observes the beauty of the garden of his house, which shows the innocence he just had at the beginning of the book.

After the couple was turned down by the doctor, Kino became desperate but fortunately found a very large and rare pearl in one of his dives. The author used this part of the story as a turning point in Kino’s personality. This part of the story also depicted the greed of the other minor characters of the novel such as the priest of La Paz, who agreed to help Kino only after he discovered that he had the pearl, and the doctor, who changed his mind and helped Kino only after he found out that the fisherman was in possession of a rare pearl.

Moreover, although Kino’s intentions were primarily to buy a cure for his son by selling the pearl, he was blinded by his greed as shown in his desire to sell the pearl only to the highest bidder. Days after he found the pearl, his entire family experienced a lot of misfortunes. Several men attempted to steal the pearl from him and although they were unsuccessful, this led to Kino committing acts he normally did not do such as violence and murder. In addition, Kino’s attitude towards his family suddenly changed which was illustrated when he beat up his wife Juana after she insisted that they get rid of the pearl for fear of the misfortune it will bring them in the future.

Even after their house was burned down, Kino still insisted on keeping the pearl and escaped to a nearby the mountain with his family since they believed he will be hunted by the authorities after he killed one of the men of attempted to steal his prized possession. They then discover that they were being pursued by three men and when Kino tried to surprise them, they kill his son, Coyotito. He responded by killing all of them and the next day the story ended with Kino returning to La Paz where he throws the pearl to the sea for good.

The events at the mountain were another form of nature imagery used by the author. This time, Steinbeck used the mountain to reflect life’s darker side which is characterized struggles and hardships. In this case, however, it was still Kino’s greed that led to these events. Overall, Steinbeck clearly expresses that man’s desire for excessive property and riches would eventually lead to destruction as portrayed by Kino who lost his son, his house, and his innocence in his greedy desire to sell the pearl and amass wealth.


Steinbeck, J. (2002). The Pearl (Centennial Edition). New York: Penguin


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