The Pearl by John Steinbeck – Good Book
The setting of the story is the area of La Paz, a pearl fishing town in Mexico on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, around the year 1900. The pearl fisher Kino is a native Mexican whose son gets bitten by a scorpion and needs help urgently. To afford a doctor, Kino dives for pearls and finds the largest pearl the people have ever seen. The other Indian people in his village of natives become jealous, and the whole town knew directly that Kino had found the “Pearl of the World”. Kino sees his dreams come true, because he now could afford all the things he never could pay for. He could pay the doctor, he could get married, he could buy new clothes and wear shoes, and he could send his son Coyotito to school. One of the main themes is colonialism and the oppression of the natives. Mexico is still a colonial society in the 20th century, because the native Mexicans are not treated the same way as the colonizers, which were the Spanish and other Europeans. Kino is a native Indian and feels the superiority of the colonists.
At the beginning, he is treated badly by the town doctor who refuses to treat Coyotito because Kino had no money to pay him. The doctor said: “Have I nothing better to do than cure insect bites for ‘little Indians’? I am a doctor, not a veterinary”. The doctor is arrogant and compares Indians to animals by saying he is not a veterinary. He already assumed that Kino had no money anyway to pay him, so he doesn’t even look at the baby. This shows how the natives are treated in colonial societies. Colonizers think that they are better than the natives, believing that the Indians are stupid and poor and don’t know anything. They don’t realize that it is because of the oppression that the natives can’t escape their situation. They can not go to school and are always seen as inferior. They are not given a chance. In the story, Kino has no chance to sell his pearl for the real price that it is worth, because the colonists, who buy the pearls, want to take advantage of his weakness. The colonists are also hypocrites, because when they heard about the pearl and knew they could get money, the doctor suddenly came to see the child and the priest came to bless them.
Throughout the story, Kino never gets a real chance to use his fortune. He feels betrayed and in danger, because some people, which were probably sent by the pearl dealers, try to steal the pearl several times and even try to kill him. They destroy his boat because they wanted to destroy his spirit. When he left to sell the pearl in the capital, some men follow him to take it from him. He has always been the loser and the higher class wants him to to stay small and unimportant. Steinbeck describes natives as innocent and uncorrupted. However, the greed of people and the hope of a better life force Kino to lose his innocence and to become a murderer. The society doesn’t give natives a chance to rise to a higher level, but always wants to look down at them. Kino feels angry and frustrated when the doctor finally suddenly comes to see the baby. But he let him in because he saw him as a man with more knowledge and he was scared for his son “He was trapped as his people were always trapped”. This quote shows that the natives will always rely on the colonists because they don’t have the chance to learn or become anything. Kino is full of hope at the beginning of the story, but at the end he is worse off than before. All his dreams are shattered, because his society doesn’t accept natives to become one of them. The setting of the story is the area of La Paz, a pearl fishing town in Mexico on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, around the year 1900. The pearl fisher Kino is a native Mexican whose son gets bitten by a scorpion and needs help urgently. To afford a doctor, Kino dives for pearls and finds the largest pearl the people have ever seen. The other Indian people in his village of natives become jealous, and the whole town knew directly that Kino had found the “Pearl of the World”. Kino sees his dreams come true, because he now could afford all the things he never could pay for. He could pay the doctor, he could get married, he could buy new clothes and wear shoes, and he could send his son Coyotito to school. One of the main themes is colonialism and the oppression of the natives. Mexico is still a colonial society in the 20th century, because the native Mexicans are not treated the same way as the colonizers, which were the Spanish and other Europeans. Kino is a native Indian and feels the superiority of the colonists. At the beginning, he is treated badly by the town doctor who refuses to treat Coyotito because Kino had no money to pay him. The doctor said: “Have I nothing better to do than cure insect bites for ‘little Indians’? I am a doctor, not a veterinary”. The doctor is arrogant and
compares Indians to animals by saying he is not a veterinary. He already assumed that Kino had no money anyway to pay him, so he doesn’t even look at the baby. This shows how the natives are treated in colonial societies. Colonizers think that they are better than the natives, believing that the Indians are stupid and poor and don’t know anything. They don’t realize that it is because of the oppression that the natives can’t escape their situation. They can not go to school and are always seen as inferior. They are not given a chance. In the story, Kino has no chance to sell his pearl for the real price that it is worth, because the colonists, who buy the pearls, want to take advantage of his weakness. The colonists are also hypocrites, because when they heard about the pearl and knew they could get money, the doctor suddenly came to see the child and the priest came to bless them.
Throughout the story, Kino never gets a real chance to use his fortune. He feels betrayed and in danger, because some people, which were probably sent by the pearl dealers, try to steal the pearl several times and even try to kill him. They destroy his boat because they wanted to destroy his spirit. When he left to sell the pearl in the capital, some men follow him to take it from him. He has always been the loser and the higher class wants him to to stay small and unimportant. Steinbeck describes natives as innocent and uncorrupted. However, the greed of people and the hope of a better life force Kino to lose his innocence and to become a murderer. The society doesn’t give natives a chance to rise to a higher level, but always wants to look down at them. Kino feels angry and frustrated when the doctor finally suddenly comes to see the baby. But he let him in because he saw him as a man with more knowledge and he was scared for his son “He was trapped as his people were always trapped”. This quote shows that the natives will always rely on the colonists because they don’t have the chance to learn or become anything. Kino is full of hope at the beginning of the story, but at the end he is worse off than before. All his dreams are shattered, because his society doesn’t accept natives to become one of them.
Thinking About One Piece
Kino and his wife Juana had just had their new baby boy, Coyotito. One peaceful morning the family were just waking up and Kino spotted a scorpion hanging on the rope over their baby boys hanging box. Kino attempted to kill the deadly scorpion but Coyotito hit the rope and the venomous scorpion fell on him and stung the new baby. Kino eventually killed the scorpion but then the mother, Juana noticed the sting mark on Coyotito’s shoulder and they immediately rushed him to the town’s doctor.
The doctor refused to treat the family because of their lack of money. The doctor’s servant came out to the gate and asked Kino if he had any money, but the only thing Kino had to give was “eight small misshapen seed pearls, as ugly as gray little ulcers, flattened almost valueless”. So they eventually left the greedy doctors house and ran to the sea. Juana took a seaweed poultice and applied it to their fatally stung baby. Kino headed back to his canoe to fish for more pearls, he stuck his head under the salty water and pulled out a ginormous oyster. He opened the oyster to find a massive pearl he stared in shock for a moment before releasing a scream all the other pearl fishers could hear.
Before long all of his fellow fishermen were standing in shock around him as well. Word about this colossal pearl spread around the tiny city of La Paz very quickly. Soon after the greedy doctor that wouldn’t treat Coyotito before showed up to their house looking to treat the baby. The swelling in his shoulder has now gone down but the doctor urged the parents to let him treat Coyotito. Juana warned Kino that this pearl may bring greed and danger into their lives. But Kino insisted that he was going to town to sell the pearl the next morning. The next day the pearl buyers didn’t price the pearl at what Kino thought it was worth. He wanted to go to the capital to sell it thinking the capital would give him what he wanted for it. Juana continues to remind him of the evilness that the pearl brings with it. Kino is now being greedy like the doctor. The doctor didn’t actually want to help baby Coyotito he just wanted some of the fortune that he thinks Kino has now come upon. Kino wanted all he could get for it, in fact he was willing to go to difficult measures for it. “This pearl has become my soul”. That night Juana decided to take matters into her own hands by taking the pearl with the intention of throwing it back into the ocean. Kino saw his wife walking slowly towards the ocean and when her hand lifted up he ran and grabbed her. That night Kino beat his wife but also on that night he got robbed and attacked. Kino ended up killing one of his attackers by slitting his throat.
After that Kino and Juana decided they had to leave and get out of that town. They traveled that night and headed to the capital. Kino has shown many effects of greed in this story and so have the attackers. They only attacked Kino and burned his house down to get the pearl from him. “They have taken the pearl. I have lost it. Now it’s over’. Kino finally got the pearl back. Now that they were on the road Kino felt as though he was being followed. Coyotito and Juana took cover in the nearby mountain. While Kino stood outside taking off his white clothing. The three attackers heard a faint cry of Coyotito but simply assumed it was a coyote. They shot towards the direction of the mountain, that’s when Kino jumped out and killed all three of the attackers. It was now deadly silent, the faint cry was now gone because the shot killed baby Coyotito.
The couple headed back into town when they felt it was safe. They decided that it would be best to throw the pearl back into the ocean for good. “And the pearl settled into the lovely green water and dropped toward the bottom”. Now with the pearl and their baby boy gone they will have to adapt to their new lifestyle. The effect of greed was shown throughout the entire story whether it was Kino trying to get way more money than the pearl was worth or the doctor trying to get Kino to pay him since he assumes Kino has money now. The townspeople think Kino is a killer now when he really isn’t. This pearl truly did come with evilness and greed like Kino’s wife Juana warned him about. Greed can come with fame and fortune but also can lead to evilness and great danger. Kino’s life as well as his families were in harm’s way when word spread about the pearl. In the end, Kino and Juana lost something that is irreplaceable their one and only child.
“The Pearl” By Nobel Prize
The Pearl, a novella published in 1947 by Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck, inspired after visiting La Paz, Baja California Sur in an expedition with his friend, marine biologist, Ed Ricketts. Near La Paz, an island called Isla Espiritu Santo that’s considered the “crown jewel” of the Gulf. Many pearl divers find a lot of these precious gems in the area. The novel, East of Eden, was published in 1952 by the same author John Steinbeck who considered it his magnum opus. Steinbeck wrote the book for his sons to tell them the background of the country he grew up in. The sight, the smells, and colors. In the book, The Pearl, the setting is La Paz, Mexico. The novella opens up describing the everyday life of a family. Kino is a young, strong man who is a poor pearl diver that collects them to provide for his wife, Juana, and his son Coyotito for meager money. Then it all changes when Kino surfaces from the sea with a pearl that was “perfect as a moon”. “It was the greatest pearl in the world”, but it ruined his life. With the pearl came hope, but also evil and greed. The pearl brought greed in a way when people heard of Kino’s finding, they grew interested in him. The pearl went into the dreams and plans of everyone. For example, when the Doctor was asked to help Kino’s baby, Coyotito, from a scorpion’s sting, he refused, but as soon as he found out about the pearl, he acted upon greed over actual care and attention. Sadly, the family thought they could escape Kino’s mistakes, but ended up being followed by the evil of greedy men and death East of Eden sets primarily in the Salina Valley, California between the beginning of the 20th century and the end of World War I.
Some chapters take place way back in the Civil War or in other states. As Steinbeck sets the outline of the Salina Valley, he introduces a tender headed farmer, Samuel Hamilton, and his wife Liza, who are immigrants from Ireland. Time flies by, when suddenly a wealthy stranger arrives, Adam Trask, with his wife, Cathy Ames, and purchases the ranch near Samuel Hamilton in the Valley. Cathy Ames is described as a “malformed soul” who enjoys to destroying people. Cathy left from her home and burned her house leaving her parents to burn up in flames. She then became a mistress to a whoremaster, who beat her up as he finds out that she has been using him. He then leaves her severely injured in Adam’s and Charles, Adam’s brother, doorstep. Adam falls in love with Cathy, unaware of her past, and marries her. However that same night of the marriage, Adam unaware, Cathy goes to Charles bedroom and seduces him. They arrive and settle in the Valley, near the Hamilton ranch, and Cathy ends up finding out that she’s pregnant. Cathy does not want to be a mother or live in California. Shortly after, she gives birth to twins and shoots Adam in the shoulder as she flees. Cathy then became a prostitute in a brothel in the city of Salinas and renames herself “Kate Albaney”. She makes a plan to get close enough with the owner, Faye, to inherit the brothel and to kill her easily without suspicion. She turns her new and infamous brothel into a place of sexual sadism. Adam fell into deep depression. He then is snapped out of it and names and raises the babies with the cook, Lee and Sam Hamilton, who helps name the babies, Aron and Caleb, after characters in the bible. In the novel, Steinbeck describes the story of Cain and Abel, from the Book of Genesis within the Trasks. In the Book of Genesis, Cain and Abel offered sacrifices to God.
The shepherd Abel offers God his best lamb, while Cain, a farmer, offers Him grain. God preferred Abel’s offering instead of Cain’s, making him jealous and ending up killing Abel. The first generation in the motif is Charles and Adam. Cyrus Trask, their father, favors Adam’s birthday gift, a puppy, over Charles expensive knife because Cyrus loves Adam more. Charles almost beat Adam to death over jealousy. The last generation, Aron, and Caleb. When Caleb offers 15,000 dollars to Adam, he gets mad that Caleb has taken advantage of farmers during war-time. He gets really mad that he takes Aron to their mother’s brother, making Arons belief of their mother being dead a lie. Aron gets heartbroken and enlists in the army, resulting in his death. Inadvertently, Caleb killed Aron. The Pearl and East of Eden share similarities with a major theme: good and evil. In East of Eden, Samuel Hamilton represents goodness, while Cathy Ames represents evilness. Samuel acts as a mentor, somewhat of a fatherly figure towards Adam. He was the first person to see through of what Cathy really is. Cathy affected Adam in a horrible way, especially when she abandoned the twins and him. When Hamilton retired, he lived peacefully as his children cared for and supported him. Cathy killed herself in her dark, gray room, all alone. Good and evil interprets into songs in The Pearl. Throughout the story, Kino hears songs in his head in an intellectual level. For example, when Kino’s eyes drew towards the hanging box where Coyotito hung and saw that the scorpion was ready to sting, he heard in his mind the “Song of Evil”. By that he meant the music of the foe, the scorpion. The “Song of the Family” represents goodness, warmth, and security. He hears the rhythm of the family song is“ grinding stone where Juana worked the corn for the morning cakes. Kino hears it when Juana sings an ancient song or melody to Coyotito that has three notes and “endless variety of intervals”. The main difference found between the books are the protagonists, Adam Trask and Kino. Adam is naive to the root, a man-child. Adam knew no evil until he met his “Eve”. When Adam fell in love with Cathy, there was “nothing Cathy did or said could warp Adam’s Cathy”.
He couldn’t even get a hint that Cathy wanted nothing to do with him when she said she was going to leave as soon as possible. Apparently, he didn’t listen because he ended up getting finessed by Cathy. If it wasn’t for Lee taking care of the twins and him, he probably would’ve have not made it. Kino, on the other hand, is manly, he is a dedicated pearl diver, which is a dangerous job. He is good towards Juana and Coyotito. When Kino found the pearl, he changed, became the irony of what the townspeople called him, a manimal. He acted out the characteristics of animals because he was defending his pearl. Just how a mom protects her cubs from predators, but for Kino, it was thieves and trackers. Even Juana could see it in him, the instinct to kill in his eyes, as she lay on the shore after Kino punched and kicked her when he saw her attempting to throw the pearl back to the sea. The Pearl relates to today’s society in many ways. One of the most common one being racial oppression. Kino’s people and himself experienced this hatred because they are “Indians” and lack of education. When Kino went to sell his pearl, the pearl buyer was trying to trick Kino into thinking the pearl was worthless. Another occasion would be when Kino was talking to the priest and said that his name in the bible meant someone who “tamed the desert and sweetened the minds of the people”. The priest knew Kino and his people couldn’t read. They are looked upon so horribly that they are not considered human because of their race. Both of these books took me on different roller coasters of emotions, but out of the two books, my favorite was East of Eden. The characters are well developed. Every detail of a character is so specific that you can paint in your mind how the character looks or acts. Especially at the beginning when Steinbeck was describing the Salina Valley, the Gabilan Mts., the rivers, etc., he set a beautiful scene. The Pearl is a great book too. It taught me some things are too good to be true. Overall, reading these books was such an experience and in no doubt I will continue reading more of Steinbeck’s works.
A Great Moral Lesson in The Pardoner’s Tale And The Pearl
“The Pardoner’s Tale” and The Pearl both teach a moral lesson. This lesson is that greed is the root of all evil. But, while both stories have the main theme of greed, they are very different in terms of symbolism and setting.
First, Both “The Pardoner’s Tale” and The Pearl have the main theme of greed or the love of money being the root of all evil. In “The Pardoner’s Tale” the three drunks kill each other off because of their love for the gold they found. As the story draws to a close, the following is said about the three drunks, “Thus these two murderers received their due, So did the treacherous young poisoner too.” They all died because of greed. Likewise, in The Pearl, Kino finds a large pearl, that if sold for its proper price, will allow his family to live a much more comfortable life. But, because of all the other people who want to steal the pearl, it ends up causing only pain. Jaun Tomas, a relative of Kino warns him of this. He says, “There is a devil in this pearl.” He is saying that nothing good will come out of it.
Second, both stories are full of symbolism. In “The Pardoner’s Tale”, one example of symbolism is the old man that tells the three drunks where to find Death. He represents Death. He tells the drunks where to find Death, which are represented by gold coins, another example of symbolism. He knows that he is sending them to their deaths. Also, he seems to be very old and the drunks even say of him, “Why live so long? Isn’t it time to die?” This suggests that he is Death, because he would not kill himself, but kills others. In The Pearl, the pearl itself represents greed. Whenever anyone heard of the pearl in the story, he would try and take it for himself. Kino says about those who want the pearl, “they would not have tried to steal it if it had been valueless.” Because of greed, many would try and take the pearl from Kino.
Third, in both stories setting plays an important role. The setting is, however, very different in each. In “The Pardoner’s Tale” the setting is medieval England during the time of the Black Plague. After the Black Plague kills a mutual friend of the drunks, they swear to find and kill Death. They promise, “If we can only catch him, Death is dead!” The setting makes the story possible. In The Pearl, the setting is a Mexican costal town, possibly on the Baja Peninsula. The time is not certain, but is probably late 1800’s or early 1900’s. The setting is important because during this time in Mexico the native Mexicans were treated very badly by the rich Europeans who had settled there. This is evident in the story when Kino tries to sell his pearl, but can not receive a fair price for it. He says to his wife after trying to sell his pearl, “We will not be cheated.” He had tried to sell it to dealers in the town but none would give him a fair price for the valuable pearl.
“The Pardoner’s Tale” and The Pearl are great examples of interesting stories that also have a great moral lesson. Both stories show how greed can cause lots of pain, death, and heartache, and are also both full of examples of symbolism and have great settings to really make the stories believable.
The Pearl Novel: How Greed Can Deteriorate a Person
Greed can bring out the worst in people. It can turn people into monsters: Greed is the emotion of people being jealous. An example is when people want money; the greed will take over until they cannot take it anymore. They might go and possibly kill the innocent people just so they can get what they want. That is greed and selfishness. Just like in the novel The Pearl by John Steinbeck shows greed in so many different ways. Such as Kino finding “the Pearl of the World” (35).He then turns into one of the biggest greed monsters ever. He lives in a village with his wife, Juana, and son, Coyotito. He is happy and he is happy being a fisherman. They live in the poor part of the village due to the color of their skin. John Steinbeck shows how greed can go from bad to worse through the character of Kino.
When Kino finds the pearl things just start going bad from bad to worse. Kino needs the pearl because a scorpion stings Coyotito. This makes Juana want to go to the Doctor, and this causes Kino to seek the pearl. All the village people know the doctor would not come but Juana says, “Then we’ll go to him.”(7). Once the pearl is found and the doctor hears about it he goes to see Kino. Claims to help Coyotito but really poisons him. He only poisons him so he can have money from the pearl. This just shows how he would do anything to get money. He is that greedy. He ends up going back to help Coyotito and gives him the antidote. Hearing about the pearl, The priest also shows up and talks to Kino about what he is going to do with the money and talks Kino into getting married and getting Coyotito brought into the church, he only does that because he wants money for the church. If he really wanted to have Kino and Juana become married, he would have visited before he found the pearl. Kino is naïve; he does not see that all The Doctor and The Priest want is money. The pearl is slowly blinding Kino. Kino is overcome by greed he just wants, wants, and wants. Kino is slowly losing everything that made him so happy at first.
Later in the story, Kino has become completely blinded by the greed the pearl has caused him. Kino has now lost everything that has made him happy; he is so over come with greed that he beats Juana when she tries to get rid of it. The only reason she attempts to get rid of it, is that she sees the change in him. Now Kino has decided it is time to sell the pearl. He goes to find the pearl buyer who he finds in a dark room flipping a coin between his fingers “He rolled a coin back fan forth over his knuckles and made it appear and dissapear, made it spin and sparkle.the coin winked into sight and as quickly slipped out of sight, and the man did not even watch his own performance.”(48). This quote is significant because it shows the pearl buyer is sneaky by nature Kino does not even realize how sneaky he is. The buyer did not offer him enough money. Kino is so greedy he would not settle for anything less then what he thought it should be. The pearl buyer told Kino that the pearl was worthless but Kino realizes it is not since everyone wants the pearl. The priest gives his yearly sermon about if one is born poor then they cannot work hard to get rich. If one born poor then the person is poor for life. To them that is how it was because they could not read so they had to believe what the priest said. This shows greed because he would not give this sermon yearly if he did not think it was important, and he would not give this sermon if he thought poor people could get rich because it would take away from his money and he is very greedy. Greed has slowly over come everyone in the village, especially the rich part of town.
Since Kino is greedy and the pearl buyer did not offer him enough money, Kino decided to go to the capitol to sell the pearl. Therefore, he wants to get a fair price on it. On their way to the capitol, they begin to get tracked. The trackers followed them everywhere they went and Kino say to Juana “You will put the little one in more danger if you go with me.”(77 ). They hike up into mountains, trying to get away from the trackers Kino realizes what he must do to keep him and his family alive. He has finally realized what the pearl has done to him. Kino knows he must kill the trackers. He once again is overcome by greed, gets the strength within himself to go kill the trackers, so he climbs down the mountain and pounces when the hunter shoot his gun. He does not realize it then but the hunter killed the baby. Kino ends up killing all of the trackers and begins to realize how the pearl has hurt him.
John Steinbeck shows how greed can deteriorate through out Kinos’character in so many ways. Greed can seriously make you lose sight of everything that one had once had or loved and people get what they wanted and in the people become so disappointed. John Steinbeck wrote a very interesting book that has many examples of greed and how greed takes over people’s lives. Greed really does do a person bad. It turns people into monsters, another example of greed is sometimes someone gets something that someone wants and it drives them crazy enough that eventually they feel like they have to take it because they wanted it so they take it without them knowing and then do not tell anyone that it was taken. Greed is a very common emotion for people to feel everyone feels it so people know how it feels. Everyone has some kind of experience with the feeling of greed, in some form, and knows how it feels.
The Pearl Theme Analysis
This story is about kino finding a pearl and the effects of this. Kino and juana are the main characters of the story and want to change their poor life circumstances to a wealthier lifestyle when they found the pearl. They encounter many conflicts throughout the story. In the end of all this they lost the most precious son in their lives. In the pearl steinbeck utilizes the pearl a symbol of materialism displaying the the theme of wealth leading to destruction.
Kino went into his canoe and found a pearl in the ocean. After that He thought of what he could buy “His lips moved hesitantly over this – “A rifle,” he said. “Perhaps a rifle”(12). Kino is thinking about what to buy now that he has become wealthy from the pearl. This is just the beginning of the desires of kino and the start and on the path to destruction. In the start of the story it does not really affect the family in a bad way at all. Kino later starts to really think about what he wants out of the pearl. He dreams of the things he wants “But Kino’s brain burned, even during his sleep, and he dreamed that Coyotito could read, that one of his own people could tell him the truth of things. And in his dream, Coyotito was reading from a book as large as a house, with letters as big as dogs, and the words galloped and played on the book. And then darkness spread over the page, and with the darkness came the music of evil again, and Kino stirred in his sleep; and when he stirred, Juana’s eyes opened in the darkness. And then Kino awakened, with the evil music pulsing in him, and he lay in the darkness with his ears alert.(70)”. These thoughts were evil to have because he was falling into a trap. This relates to the theme because he has a lot of power with the pearl and is leading him to a path of destruction.
Later in the story juana starts to think differently of the pearl. Juana starts to open her eyes and says this “This thing is evil,” she cried harshly. This pearl is like a sin! It will destroy us,” and her voice rose shrilly. “Throw it away, Kino. Let us break it between stones. Let us bury it and forget the place. Let us throw it back into the sea. It has brought evil. Kino, my husband, it will destroy us.”(75).
A Theme Of Greed In The Pearl By John Steinbeck
When wanting spirals into destruction, a family is broken apart, shattered by a rare discovery. A pearl that seems so pure, so innocent that it seems as if nothing evil can come from it. The Pearl by John Steinbeck appears to be a story about a man and his quest to save his son and create financial stability for his family. However, the real plot behind The Pearl tells the story of a man how the sudden experience of wealth corrupts his soul and causes him to turn on those he loves. The main theme of The Pearl is greed and how it breeds nothing but pain to those who are affected by it, it can be seen throughout the entire story, from when Kino beats his wife Juana, the priests swarming his house when they discover his new discovery, to the way someone who is supposed to be as selfless as a doctor treats patients he deems lesser. Steinbeck does a magnificent job showing that no one is immune to the desires of greed. The biggest symbol of greed in The Pearl is the pearl itself. The pearl at first appears to be a savior to Kino and his family. However, it quickly becomes apparent that it will bring nothing but suffering to Kino and his family.
To begin with, The Pearl brings out the greed in everyone it touches and causes Kino to beat his wife Juana. On page 61 of The Pearl, it states “Her arm was up to throw when he leaped at her and caught her arm and wrenched the pearl from her. He struck her in the face with his clenched fist and she fell among the boulders, and he kicked her in the side.” This quote occurs after Juana attempts to take the Pearl from Kino while he is sleeping and cast it into the ocean, but before she can Kino sees her and takes the pearl away from her right before hitting her. This evidence shows that Kino who was seen as a man that was incorruptible and loves his family more than anything changes when the pearl becomes part of his life. Kino is consumed by the desire of money and is so blinded by the illusion of a bright future produced by the pearl that he doesn’t realize the danger it’s putting his family in. Instead of realizing and listening to his wife, he beats her when she takes circumstances into her own hands. When an individual like Kino feels that money and goods will bring him happiness in his life, he becomes more and more determined to get it and is even willing to destroy and betray those that are significant in his life to do it.
Furthermore, the desire to be successful and happy naturally exists in all people. Success is often associated with the acquisition of wealth and material goods. In the Pearl, the doctor is a dominant character as he is the first person Kino goes to when Coyotito is harmed and he represents the colonial beliefs that oppress Kino’s people. He epitomizes the Colonials arrogance, greed, and patronization and how the heart of colonial society feels toward the natives. In The Pearl page 11, it states “It is a little Indian with a baby. He says a scorpion stung it.’ The doctor put his cup down gently before he let his anger rise. ‘Have I nothing better to do than cure insect bites for ‘little Indians’? I am a doctor, not a veterinary.’ ‘Yes, Patron,’ said the servant. ‘Has he any money?’ the doctor demanded. ‘No, they never have any money. I, alone in the world am supposed to work for nothing – and I am tired of it. See if he has any money!” This quote transpires right after Coyotito is bitten by a scorpion and ruched to the physician. He as a doctor is obligated to perform to save human life, but when confronted with someone whom he considers below him, the doctor feels no before-mentioned obligation. His cruel unwillingness to heal Coyotito for the scorpion wound because Kino doesn’t have the money to pay him, therefore, shows the human expense of political victory embedded in the desire for financial gain. Then on page 22, it states “ And when it was made plain who Kino was, the doctor grew stern and judicious at the same time. ‘He is a client of mine,’ the doctor said. ‘I am treating his child for a scorpion sting.’ And the doctor’s eyes rolled up a little in their fat hammocks and he thought of Paris. He remembered the room he had lived in there as a great and luxurious place.” This quote occurs when the doctor receives the news that Kino found the pearl of the world. Even though at first he didn’t want to treat Coyotito because Kino didn’t have money, that quickly changes after learning that Kino has found a great pearl. This shows how greed and money can corrupt people, from not wanting to do what they made an oath to do because they believe they were more above somebody, to doing it only become it benefits themselves.
To continue, The Pearl by John Steinbeck, the author shows how sudden fortune can bring out the worst in everyone. This is shown on page 21 “ It came to the priest walking in his garden, and it put a thoughtful look in his eyes and a memory of certain repairs necessary to the church. He wondered what the pearl would be worth. And he wondered whether he had baptized Kino’s baby, or married him for that matter.” This quote occurs right after Kino found the pearl and the neighborhood found out. Also on page 28 “the priest gasped a little at the size and beauty of the pearl. And then he said: ‘I hope thou wilt remember to give thanks, my son, to Him who has given thee this treasure and to pray for guidance in the future.’ Kino nodded dumbly, and it was Juana who spoke softly. ‘We will, Father. And we will be married now. Kino has said so.’ She looked at the neighbors for confirmation, and they nodded their heads solemnly. The priest said, ‘It is pleasant to see that your first thoughts are good thoughts. God bless you, my children.’ He turned and left quietly” This quote happened after the priest found out that Kino found the pearl of the world. Since the church is in bad condition and could use some improvements, when the priest learns of the pearl, he starts to think of how he could use a portion of the profits. Wondering the cost of the pearl, the priest begins to question if he had given any religious services for Kino and his family, such as marriage or baptism. This shows how the town priest superficially represents pure virtue and goodness, but he is just as involved in utilizing Kino’s wealth as everyone else, believing that he can find a way to convince Kino to give him some of the wealth he will make from the pearl.
To conclude, in John Steinbeck’s The Pearl, a young man named Kino, his wife, Juana, and their infant child, Coyotito, find a pearl so majestic that many people will attack Kino to get it. The pearl causes Kino to be overcome with greed and desire and brings hardship to him and his family. The pearl brings much darkness, but a slight amount of gain, the pearl extracts the opportunity for a better life, causes the destruction of Kino’s property and family and evokes the death of Coyotito. Money, turning the best of people corrupt. Desperate and greedy, tempted by the circles of gold and pieces of paper. Greed is only achieved through an individual’s selfish desires which creates conflicts in personal relationships and society. Author John Steinbeck does a magnificent job showing that no one is immune to the desires of greed and it is shown throughout the book.
Depiction Of Oppression In The Pearl By John Steinbeck
“Steinbeck illustrates the tragic consequences of the loss of that freedom of the spirit in The Pearl, expressing a profound sympathy for the individual and the community that suffers under such an oppressive system.” (Perkins). In The Pearl, John Steinbeck describes that he feels great empathy for those who do not have freedom of spirit. This tragic effect makes individuals suffer in an oppressive system. The main reason of his writing of The Pearl is to give voice to the working class who sometimes do not have that liberty. He explains throughout the novel the unfortunate experiences that Kino endures. Kino has misused the power of the pearl and has caused oppression and disruption for himself and the community. In The Pearl, Steinbeck shows that Kino cannot escape oppression through the thoughts of Juana, the development of the pearl, and the cultural superiority of the doctor.
Steinbeck uses the thoughts and emotions of Juana to show that Kino cannot escape oppression. Kino has let his visions overcome his sanity and Juana says, “There was no anger in her for Kino. He had said, ‘I am a man,’ and that meant certain things to Juana. It meant that he was half insane and half god. It meant that Kino would drive his strength against a mountain and plunge his strength against the sea. Juana, in her woman’s soul, knew that the mountain would stand while the man broke himself; that the sea would surge while the man drowned in it”. Juana understands Kino’s masculinity. Kino cannot help fighting the forces that are beyond him because he is man, and it is his nature. He is blindsided by the greed and evil that has corrupted his life along with his family’s. Juana realizes that he cannot escape his oppressive state, and all will soon be destroyed. The quote uses metaphors comparing Kino’s strength to the mountains and seas. This means that Kino will not surrender until he achieves his goals and visions for his family, which will soon cause oppression. This can be further explained by stating, “Kino has entered a kind of moral twilight zone in which his physical strength reveals his moral weakness. Juana may be the person lying in the water, but it is Kino who has actually fallen in the most important sense, and the comparison of Kino to a snake — the traditional symbol of evil — seems perfectly appropriate” (Pearl). The moral weakness of Kino is evident when he realizes he cannot fight the supreme forces that surround him. The pearl has turned Kino into an evil and selfish person, and he cannot escape this. Kino cannot see the unfortunate causes of his actions and will cause his family oppression when he loses everything valuable in his life. Juana knows the horrible path Kino is heading towards, but she realizes there is nothing she can do because Kino is a man and has a certain authority over her.
Steinbeck uses the development of the pearl to show how Kino cannot escape oppression. Juana says, “The pearl is like a sin; it will destroy us”. The Pearl of the World comes at a great price but also brings a great sacrifice. At first, the pearl was used as a symbol of hope and salvation. Kino sees the pearl to escape his status in society and his visions were very ambitious. The pearl then became a symbol of evil in the world because it seems as though the greed surfaces in the presence of evil. The pearl will soon destroy everything valuable in his life. Steinbeck uses a simile to compare the pearl to a sin. The pearl can represent the sin in the world, which is inescapable, just as Kino could not escape the oppression in the world. Perkins adds to this by stating, “The loss of the pearl at the end of the story suggests his loss of hope for the future and a loss in his belief that he can control his life and destiny.” Kino finally reaches the realization that the pearl was slowly killing him, and he has lost hope in his dreams of a new life, marrying Juana, and an education for Coyotito. Greed from the pearl has caused Kino to see what he has ruined in his life and he realizes he cannot control his own destiny.
The pearl develops throughout the story to show how greed can completely change a person’s beliefs and true values. Steinbeck shows that Kino cannot escape oppression through the cultural superiority of the doctor. Kino remembers, “This doctor was not of his people. This doctor was of a race which for nearly four hundred years had beaten and starved and robbed and despised Kino’s race, and frightened it too, so that the indigene came humbly to the door. And as always when he came near to one of this race, Kino felt weak and afraid and angry at the same time”. Kino reminds himself of the abusive power from the doctor’s race. He knows the ways of the doctor and becomes very cautious because the doctor dismisses him. The doctor later says that he is not a veterinary, which implies that Kino’s race, who were Indians, were animals. Kino’s rebellious and brave personality is hidden by the fear caused by the doctor. Steinbeck uses the words beaten, starved, robbed, and despised to show how awful Kino’s race was treated. Perkins further explains, “Another consequence of this type of oppression is the disruption of the community, which provides an effective way to suppress any rebellion within that community. Disruption can be seen in the behavior of the doctor’s servant who refuses to speak to Kino in their native language.” The doctor’s servant, who was also Indian, feared the doctor, and therefore, he refuses to talk to Kino in their native language. The doctor’s power is misused and disruptive to the community, which provides oppression for the lower classes. The Doctor’s cultural power is harmful to the community and is affecting the actions of the people.
Steinbeck shows that Kino is in constant oppression through the thoughts of Juana, the development of the pearl, and the cultural superiority of the Doctor. Juana knows that Kino is a man and has authority over her, but she knows that Kino is slowly destroying himself and everyone around him. The development of the pearl shows how greed can overcome a person and change their true values and beliefs. The doctor abuses his power, which causes harm and disruption within the town and changes the opinions of a person. Steinbeck wrote many of his novels to give voice to the working class of America who might be experiencing similar types of oppression. John Steinbeck says, “A sad soul can kill you quicker, far quicker, than a germ.”
Symbolism In John Steinbeck’s The Pearl
“It is not good to want a thing too much. It sometimes drives the luck away. You must want it just enough, and you must be very tactful with Gods or the gods.” The Pearl, short story written by John Steinbeck, the author in which he presents Coyotito, the baby of Kino, a poor fisherman and his wife Juana. Everything starts off when the calamity strikes over the family when the infant Coyotito gets stung by a scorpion and the doctor refuses to heal the baby because of their race and lack of money. The irritation drives Kino and Juana desperately to the sea for pearl diving, hoping to find a pearl that might be valuable for Coyotito’s treatment. As he dives, he finds the so-called “Pearl of the World.” At the surface of the pearl he sees a brighter future, new clothes and education for his son. Kino goes to sell it but the pearl dealers try to lowball him and get it as cheap as possible. After his house had been ransacked and attacked by intruders Kino decides to sell the pearl at the capital. They go through mountains but realize that they are followed by three men. Afterwards everything goes differently and unexpectedly. In this text, I will analyze symbols that Steinbeck used to convey messages and show thoughts.
Symbols such as the scorpion, pearl and canoe added deeper meaning to the story. First of them is the scorpion who changed the course of kino and his family’s life. The scorpion symbolizes evil. Steinbeck’s choice of words and the song of evil made it clear, “In his mind a new song had come, the Song of Evil, the music of the enemy, of any foe of the family, a savage, secret, dangerous melody, and underneath, the Song f the Family cried plaintively” that the scorpion is the actual source of evil, through Kinos feelings and thoughts even before his baby was stung (gets stung). The greedy doctor and scorpion was the two reasons for finding the great pearl which was the beginning of a new dark chapter of Kino’s life. The scorpions poison which is considered as one of the deadly poisons got healed by just some sea sand but there is another poison which is the peals poison which cannot be healed by anything.
The second symbol is the pearl, the pearl has many symbols in the story at the beginning of the story the pearl is seen as a savior and key that would open many doors for Coyotito, “And to Kino the secret melody of the maybe pearl broke clear and beautiful, rich and warm and lovely, glowing and gloating and triumphant. In the surface of the great pearl he could see dream forms.” The author described the pearl as a symbol of beauty, financial worth, and hope. All of Kino’s dreams were depended on the pearl, it would help the poor fisherman to pay for his son’s treatment and liberate them from poverty. As the story continues the symbols of the pearl changes. The pearl becomes a symbol of destruction because it destroys Kino’s life, character and becomes the cause of his son’s death. The humble fisherman’s simple life with a value of love and loyalty transformed into monster. The third symbol is the canoe. The canoe symbolizes the simplification of Kino’s life when he lived a peaceful life full of love without any need of riches and worth. ‘Kino and Juana came slowly down to the beach and to Kino’s canoe, which was the one thing of value he owned in the world.’ The author reinforces a message that the canoe was a very important thing in Kino’s life because it was his livelihood and the tie between him and his heritage. The destruction of Kino’s canoe meant cutting the tie between Kino and his simple life. In addition Kino and Juana couldn’t travel and so they made their way through the mountains. In conclusion, the author paints a portrait of how greed is a destructive force and how wealth can’t buy happiness. Kino gets the pearl and believes that he has all reasons for being happy.
Steinbeck shows readers that wealth can’t buy happiness because Kino ends up living a miserable life. Kino didn’t appreciate what he had, he didn’t protect his canoe that he inherited from his grandfather or his house as he protect the pearl. Steinbeck wants readers to know that we have to appreciate what we have and be content. Greed might be necessary in some cases because it is like great factor for motivation. The greed is good when it’s mixed with ambition for example if i wasn’t greedy of getting higher grade than my friends i wouldn’t write this analysis and if i wasn’t ambition of getting an A i wouldn’t care about this analyze. It the same thing with our greatest inventions in science, technology. Many scientists wanted the Nobel Prize and the money. The beautiful cars, computer cellphones you see around you is because of company’s ambition of being the best and getting money. Greed is like slow suicide and an appetite of desires that never satisfied. You should be content and prioritize your family above everything because greed ruins relationships and family tie (as it did with Kino). If you are greedy you will not success because you will be worried about the things you don’t have and what others have. Greed changes people’s character, people become dishonest and selfish.
The Book of Revelation and the “Pearl” Poem Essay
It is important to note that the literature of the Middle Ages was largely influenced by Christian beliefs. Poets often resorted to biblical stories and symbols. They often tried to glorify major Christian values providing various parallels.
Thus, the poem Pearl can be regarded as a kind of didactic narrative based on the Book of Revelation. It is possible to trace several parallels between the poem and the Book of Revelation: numerical symbolism, the idea of people’s resignation and the idea of revelation.
Due to these three parallels, the poem can be regarded as a medieval symbolic periphrasis of the Book of Revelation.
In the first place, it is necessary to note that the poem is triadic in form (Lambdin and Lambdin 96). Thus, there are three settings: factual garden where the knight is looking for his pearl, the garden in his dream where he speaks with the Lady and the view of the New Jerusalem.
Thus, Lambdin and Lambdin state that the garden where the knight is talking with the Lady is a setting-within-a-setting, and that the New Jerusalem serves as a setting-within-a-setting-within-a-setting because the dreamer views it from a position within the first dream landscape. (96)
Admittedly, the number three has a great significance in the Christian culture. This number stands for the Trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Of course, the use of the number in the poem of the Middle Ages is not surprising as many poets of that time resorted to this number.
One of the best examples of this tradition is the number of trials the main characters, knights, had to complete. There always were three victories to be achieved.
Nonetheless, the poem under consideration is rather unique as the author exploits the number in such a specific way. Thus, the author creates three dimensions where the protagonist has to find himself to reach the truth.
These three dimensions can also be associated with the Trinity as they represent the humanness, spirituality and the divine truth. The protagonist has to spend some time in the three dimensions to find his pearl which stands for the divine truth: “Where dwells that dearest, as I ween, / My precious pearl without a spot” (Tolkien 125). It is but natural that he perceives the truth at the end of his journey throughout the three dimensions.
Apart from the numerical symbolism, it is possible to trace the influence of the Book of Revelation in terms of the idea of human’s resignation. In fact, this idea is central to Christianity as major postulates of Christianity are concerned with people’s resignation.
It is acknowledged that people should clearly understand what their place in this world is. Pearl also touches upon the idea of resignation. Thus, the author dwells upon the “beauty of purity and perfection” (Andrew and Waldron 30).
The author provides a long dialogue between the man and the mysterious Lady. The Lady speaks of resignation and the glory of God.
Thus, the author provides a rhetoric question: “What greater glory could to him belong / Than king to be crowned be courtesy?” (Tolkien 141). Admittedly, courtesy and purity are regarded as some of the most important characteristic features of rightful people.
The Lady makes the knight understand one of the major postulates of Christianity: “To their body doth loyalty true unite, So as limbs to their Master mystical / All Christian souls belong by right (Tolkien 140).
Thus, the author emphasizes the necessity to accept the simple truth that people are nothing more than creations of God. Andrew and Waldron point out that the poem reveals the transformation of a mere human into a rightful man who possesses the greatest pearl, i.e. the truth (30).
Admittedly, the idea of resignation is also central to the Book of Revelation which predicts the future of humanity. Thus, in the Book of Revelation only rightful people, who accept their status, can be saved.
Only those who resign to God can be saved. It is also important to note that it is only when the dreamer acknowledges and accepts his status, he is permitted to see the New Jerusalem:
…As John the apostle it did view,
I saw that city of great renown,
Jerusalem royally arrayed and new (Tolkien 159).
In fact, this is an allegorical representation of the revelation. The medieval author reveals the way people can achieve revelation: it is necessary to understand what humans really are.
When it comes to the idea of revelation, the parallels are almost overt. In the first place, the author of the Pearl portrays the New Jerusalem which was promised to rightful people after the apocalypse. Many scholars have argued that the depiction of the city in Pearl is somewhat unusual (Andrew and Waldron 31).
Admittedly, it differs from the Biblical descriptions as wells as later depictions of the New Jerusalem. It is somewhat brighter. It is important to note that the poem was created at the time when the catastrophic aftermaths of the Black Plague were still in people’s memory.
Perhaps, this fact influenced the author’s perception of the biblical motives. In fact, this point is really meaningful as it justifies the argument that Pearl is medieval interpretation of the Book of Revelation.
Interestingly, the author contemplates the major Christian values accepting every instance. Thus, the author preaches that people should resign to God’s will and work hard to be able to tread the land of the New Jerusalem.
The author also contemplates sins that can prevent many people from achieving their revelation. The author also alludes to the pictures of apocalypse revealed in the Book of Revelation. However, at the same time, it is clear that people’s perception of the Christian beliefs changed.
Thus, the Pearl is not concerned with punishment which was one of the central motives in the Middle Ages. The author focuses on the beauty of Christianity and the glory of God. The author glorifies God’s kindness.
Remarkably, this makes the poem that important as it is one of the literary works that reveal transformation in religious beliefs in Europe in the Middle Ages.
On balance, it is possible to point out that Pearl can be regarded as a medieval interpretation of the Book of Revelation. In the first place, the book touches upon the major themes revealed in the Book of Revelation.
Thus, Pearl is mainly concerned with the idea of resignation and revelation. More so, the parallels between the two works can be traced on the level of numerical symbols as the two works exploit such symbols extensively.
In Pearl the number three plays an important role. However, the most important peculiarity of the poem is that it reveals the transformation of some central Christian values.
Thus, the author tells the story revealed in the Book of Revelation, but focuses on the beauty of Christianity and God’s glory, rather than on the idea of punishment which was common for the Dark Ages.
Andrew, Malcolm, and R. Waldron. The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript, Berkely, CA: University of California Press, 1982. Print.
Lambdin, Laura.C., and R.T. Lambdin. Arthurian Writers: A Bibliographical Encyclopedia, Westport, CT: ABC-CLIO, 2008. Print.
Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Pearl; [and] Sir Orfeo, New York, NY: Del Rey, 1979. Print.