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).
The Power Of Greed In Treasure Island By Robert Louis Stevenson And The Pearl By John Steinbeck
In the books Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson and The Pearl by John Steinbeck, the major themes presented contributing to the plot was greed. Greed is a theme that is displayed through the actions of characters in both of these books and plays a role in driving the plot forward. Both books consist of adventure and mystery leading to a suspenseful reading experience. Greed results in consequences such as possessiveness, dangerous outcomes and guilt, which all play particularly outstanding roles in plot advancement. All three of these topics feed into the overall demise of characters in the books, making them extremely important factors to analyze.
Intense greed causes individuals to do things that they would not typically do, such as being possessive. The characters in the story lose sight of the bigger picture and it causes them to want more than they already have. In The Pearl, Kino finds a rare pearl and took it to an appraiser to get as much money as possible from it but the appraiser would not even give Kino half of what he desired. He would not settle for less and walked out of the store with no money and the extraordinary pearl in his pocket. The Pearl caused Kino to become very obsessive over Coyotito, his son, and was referring to the boy as property, “His face shone with prophecy. ‘My son will read and open the books, and my son will write and will know writing. And my son will make numbers, and these things will make us free because he will know — he will know and through him, we will know… This is what the pearl will do’”. It is not selfish of Kino to want more for his son, but it is greedy for him to want his child to be better than everyone else in his neighbourhood, as they live in a poor community surrounded by rich cities. Non-wealthy people can be just as greedy as treasure hungry pirates. In a conversation between Squire Trelawney and Doctor Livesey in Treasure Island, the squire brings up some good remarks about how the famous pirate Captain Flint only does tasks where there is money and riches involved. Not just Flint cared about money, all other pirates did too, “‘But the point is, had he money?’ ‘Money! Have you heard the story? What do they care for but money? For what would they risk their rascal carcasses but money?’”. Money is an object and they keep wanting more, no matter the cost; bloodshed, dishonesty, and disloyalty do not affect them, so why would they bother worrying? One of the few characters that are genuinely not interested in the money is Ben Gunn, “he possesses the entire Flint treasure hoard, yet shares it with Squire Trelawney and his men, asking for only a small portion of it in return for his services to them”. He has witnessed first-hand what possessiveness looked like from Captain Flint, and he was worried that it would happen to him.
Throughout both novels, multiple characters have lost their lives either trying to protect what they have or by trying to gain more power. In the case of the character Kino in The Pearl, his son is murdered because he kept the Pearl instead of selling it, which caused multiple individuals to target the family and want to take the pearl. The baby was innocent and still untouched from the hands of greed, but the mood changed in the story “and then Kino stood uncertainty. Something was wrong, some signal was trying to get through to his brain. Tree frogs and cicadas were silent now. And then Kino’s brain cleared from its red concentration and he knew the sound – the keening, moaning, rising hysterical cry from the little cave in the side of the stone mountain, the cry of death”. Kino didn’t realize what trouble he brought to his family until this moment, and he thought he could keep his family safe and still get what he wanted. Not only did Coyotito die, but multiple pirates too. Multiple pirates have lost their lives but they didn’t pass on from battle, they lost their lives to keep a secret. Captain Flint never showed mercy when it came to getting what he wanted and he never took chances to reveal where his treasure was hidden. But, “the idea of treasure functions in another way in the book, too, playing off the double meaning of the word “fortune,” which can mean both ‘wealth’ and ‘fate’”(). In saying this, it draws on a good point that the treasure could be perceived as whatever the pirates wanted it to be seen as. In chapter thirteen, a character is introduced named Benn Gunn and he set out for an adventure and he was part of Captain Flint’s crew when the murder took place. When he met the main character, Jim Hawkins, Ben told him about what he saw on the island. He said: “I were in Flint’s ship when he buried the treasure; he and six along- six strong seamen… But, there he was, you mind, and the six all dead- dead and buried. How he done it, not a man aboard us could make out. It was battle, murder, and least ways…”. This was the pirate way and eventually Ben joined a different crew then told them of where Flint’s treasure is located, and soon after he was marooned on a separate island. This proves that even if an individual tries to stay away from being greedy themselves, other greedy people nearby will have an impact on their overall life.
Greed can be an easy temptation to succumb to, but it is challenging dealing with the consequences. There is a clear moment in The Pearl when the Kino realizes what he has done and it causes the reader to feel remorse for this character. To be specific in this book, the narrator wrote: “Now Kino lay in the cave entrance, his chin braced on his crossed arms, and he watched the blue shadow of the mountain move out across the brushy desert below until it reached the Gulf, and the long twilight of the shadow was over the land” . Kino is sitting by himself reflecting on what he has done and what has happened to his once fulfilling life, of waking up to his wife and son. It will never be the same as it once was because his friends turned on him, which caused him to panic and inevitably got his son killed in the process. Coyotito being killed was an accident which is why it is understandable for Kino to feel regret and remorse for his son. Pirates, on the other hand, do not feel guilt, so the character in Treasure Island that best demonstrates this trait is Jim. He starts out as a young and innocent boy but eventually grows and matures into a young man that can take care of himself. At the end of the novel when he found the treasure with what was remaining of the crew, Jim has a moment when he is thinking to himself: “…That was Flint’s treasure that we had come so far to seek, and that had cost already the lives of seventeen men from the Hispaniola. How many had it cost in the amassing, what blood and sorrow, what good ships scuttles on the deep, what brave men walking the plank blindfold, what shot of cannon, what shame and lies and cruelty, perhaps no man alive could tell”. He realizes what has happened in order for this treasure to be in the cave and for it to be in his hands, and he is considering if it is all worth it. Was all the gold and jewels really worth the bloodshed? Jim never intended for the people that went on the voyage to get hurt or die, but he feels guilt from it, especially from Israel Hands. This character was murdered by Jim but it was in self-defence as Hands tried to throw a spear and kill Jim first. This was a moment that Jim did regret it but it was not his fault. Greed does many different things to an individual and makes them do and think things that they wouldn’t typically be known for. In a previously written essay it has said that “In our lives greed is something that will make a person go above and beyond normal just to achieve more than what they already have”. Greed is one of the most common forms of human emotion that exist but is often hidden because it is seen as a negative trait. In the cases of these books, it is clear as to which characters face the most internal conflict, and it is represented in their actions and dialogue. The pirates, in particular, have the most difficult time masking their struggle because they have been raised the same way, to always want more.
After reading the novels and studying the concepts presented, greed does many things to the mind that have the potential to change an individual. It could be over a short period of time, as seen in Kinos story, or an extended period of time, which is viewed in Captain Flint’s tale. It can cause an innocent man to forget about the real values and treasures that life holds, and a selfish one to fall even deeper into despair and obsession. Overall, both of these important characters in the novels lost sight of themselves and what really matters.
Mass Hysteria in America After the Pearl Harbor Attack During World War II
On December 7, 1941 the naval base Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan. The bombing resulted in the destruction of 8 battleships and over 200 aircraft. About 2,000 people lost their lives and another thousand were wounded. After the attack, President Roosevelt declared war on Japan. People all around the United States persecuted any person of Japanese descent because they were believed to have aided and sympathized Japan. These assumptions may seem ridiculous to believe now but after the attack people were afraid and concerned and these assumptions and rumors were everywhere. Two months after the attack the President gave an executive order that all Japanese Americans must evacuate their homes and be relocated as a matter of national security. They all had to meet at a train station to be sent to one of the ten internment camps. The camps were located in California, Utah, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, Arkansas, and Colorado. Each camp held about 10,000 people who were considered to be prisoners. The camps were surrounded by barbed wire and guard towers and they were usually located in the middle of the desert. The barracks where the prisoners had to sleep was very crowded and the rations of food weren’t very great. The camps were under very strict rules. There were curfews at night and most prisoners had a job and had to keep the camp clean. The treatment was very unfair especially because these people didn’t deserve it. They were stripped of all their rights and freedom because people were paranoid about them attacking America. All of the hatred and anger Americans had after the attack was directed towards Japanese Americans because they looked like the enemy. The sad thing is 70% of the 120,000 people in the internment camps were born citizens in the U.S. and they were treated like enemies and prisoners of war. No one even tried to defend them, most people would financially benefit from
President Roosevelt’s order and they felt more safe so there was no reason for people to go against authority if it didn’t affect them in a negative way. Most people just let this happen and didn’t give it another thought. These internment camps were around for the rest of the war. The government then released all prisoners to go back to their homes and live as before. Many of the people went back to their homes and found it in ruins. The government also admitted their mistakes and gave any prisoner money to go and live their lives again. The damage was already done and 3 to 4 years of their lives could not be returned.
Review on the Pearl Harbor event
Peter L. Bergen said, “The Japanese scored an important victory at Pearl Harbor, but the attack pulled the United States into World War II, and four years later, Japan was in ruins, utterly defeated”. On Sunday, December 7, 1941, the naval base near Honolulu, Hawaii was attacked by the Japanese forces. The pearl harbor was the main event that made a huge impact on the US economy, US ships and the Japanese strategy of the attack.
The Pearl Harbor event made a huge impact on the US economy. After the attack was over the country decided that is was time for war. It is said in pearl harbor.com “After the smoke cleared from Pearl Harbor, the entire country found itself in wartime mode”. President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory”. The event made the Americans to be united and to fight the Japanese. It is said in the military.com “Pearl Harbor united a divided nation and was translated into a wholehearted American”. As the pearl harbor event happened all the American were ready for the war. It is said in the USnews.com “America is moving quickly to get on a war footing”. The US economy change in days. It is said in visitpearlharbor.org “the American economy quickly became a wartime economy”. To help the military taxes were raised. It is said in the visitpearlharbor.org “Taxes were raised to help pay for the war, war bonds were issued, and even banks purchased billions of dollars in bonds to support the war”. The economy changed in days due to the pearl harbor event.
Many of the US ships were destroyed in the pearl harbor event. It is said in the military.com “Twenty-one ships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet were sunk or damaged”. It is said in the military.com “the primary targets were the eight battleships anchored there”. It is said in the military.com USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) lay in drydock across the channel. Within the first minutes of the attack, all the battleships adjacent to Ford Island had taken bomb and/or torpedo hits. The USS West Virginia (BB-48) sank quickly. The USS Oklahoma (BB-37) turned turtle and sank. At about 8: 10 a.m., the USS Arizona (BB-39) was mortally wounded by an armor-piercing bomb which ignited the ship’s forward ammunition magazine. It is said in military.com “The USS California (BB-44), USS Maryland (BB-46), USS Tennessee (BB-43) and USS Nevada (BB-36) also suffered varying degrees of damage in the first half hour of the raid”. Many of the aircraft were destroyed and damaged. It is said in the military.com “Aircraft losses were 188 destroyed and 159 damaged, the majority hit before they had a chance to take off. After the attack, many of the US aircraft and ships were destroyed. It is said in the military.com “When the attack ended shortly before 10: 00 a.m., less than two hours after it began, the American forces has paid a fearful price”. In the end, almost all of the ships were destroyed or badly damaged.
In conclusion, the pearl harbor event was important because it changed the view of the American about the war. It destroyed almost all of the US ships and badly damaged most of them.
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.
Societal Issues in “The Pearl”
Introduction/background of Steinbeck and the Pearl
Literature is called a mirror to society. The writer cannot escape himself from societal issues and influence. He has to accept the impact in one-way or the other. John Steinbeck’s “The Pearl” is also no exception. His characters, plot, action, style and themes all reveal some societal perspectives in explicit or implicit language.
The Pearl by John Steinbeck seems like a very simple book as a parable on the societal issues. The story is about a poor man whose new found riches take over his life.
It’s a story we’ve all heard before, but as you dig deeper into the meaning of the book one finds much more than just a simple story. Discoveries such as how man relates with nature, the different social statuses, and the wholeness of people can be found in this simple story.
Kino is a poor Indian man with a small family, a wife and an infant son.
He is an honest, venerable pearl diver who works hard to maintain his family’s livings. Kino is aware of his poverty and knows that money could possibly buy a better life for his family, especially his son. When he finally gains riches he realizes that people can kill to protect their chance for wealth and power. He also has a better grasp on the social standing of the Indians compared to the white men. He senses danger once everyone has found out about his riches, but his guard is always up. Now that his life has monetary value, Kino has lost all social innocence. He learns that he, too, can kill to protect the chance for wealth and power.
Kino is the symbol of a hard-working man destroyed by greed. Kino not only destroys his life, but he destroys his wife’s and son’s life as well. Juana, his wife, is a very devoted wife. She also has very maternal and logical instincts. When the doctor would not treat their son, Kino responds by punching a gate; Juana puts seaweed poultice on the baby’s shoulder.
When Juana felt that the pearl was destroying their life she tried to throw it into the see. Juana represents the simple way of life. Unlike Kino, Juana does not believe in pursuing the unattainable. Though their son Coyotito does not seem to play an important part, he really does represent a big issue. Coyotito is the innocent victim of powers greater than himself. He represents the person (or thing) that is forced to stand back and cannot defend him at all in life.
The Pearl as a Parable
The Pearl is basically a Mexican folklore. Although, The Pearl is purely more than a clear-cut story of a man who finds a pearl, yet it has many connotative, allegorical and suggestive touches from parable perspective. In its own, The Pearl is a dominant parable of jealously, oppression, inner struggle, bravery and greed and so much more. It may be termed as a multiple metaphor also going beyond the realm of parable rather. From fabrication of plot perspective, Steinbeck vigilantly weaves into his folk tale his own innovative and individual style using glowing descriptions and strong figurative language.
How does The Pearl address the role of society?
There are many prominent themes in this book, but the one I really like and agree with is not so prominent. In The Pearl Steinbeck shows the role of the society being as one. Everything has its place in the universe, and when something happens to one of the parts, the whole system is affected. No event happens to an individual in isolation. The first incident in which you see this take affect is when Kino is heading to the doctor’s house. The villagers swarm around him as they head into the rich part of town. ‘The thing had become a neighborhood affair.’ (Page 8) Everyone was concerned. When Kino found the pearl everyone knew about it by the time his boat reached the shore. How people are affected as a whole is not always in a negative sense.
These two examples demonstrate that, but unfortunately these are the only two examples. There is much more pain and suffering form here on. None of the Indians have ever been rich, so when Kino finds the pearl many of the other Indians feel resentment toward him. This is not obvious to Kino because he is blinded by greed, but his brother Juan Thomas sees it and warns Kino.
Juan Thomas is much help to Kino. Because of Kino’s mistakes in the book Juan has to rearrange his traditional Indian lifestyle to compensate for his brother. His life is temporarily changed because of one person, his brother. After trying to sell the pearl to the people in his town, Kino becomes enraged. There are a number of dreadful events that happen between the time he sells his pearl and the time he leaves town that Kino does not act rationally upon. This affects everyone. It affects the ones he deals directly with physically, but the others in town are affected emotional.
How does The Pearl address the role of equality?
The characters in The Pearl represent exploitations and insist social justice and equality in an implicit manner. One reason Kino feels he must sell the pearl is because the return money from pearl will raise his social class. Kino lives with his family in a poor person’s village made of brush houses. He, his family, and village are at the bottom of the social structure in La Paz. When Kino and Juana’s baby, Coyotito, is stung by a deadly scorpion the family has to walk all the way to the doctor (when dealing with white people the doctor goes to the people instead of the people going to the doctor) with the with the sick baby to find out he will not care for Coyotito. The doctor tells his servant that he’s not a vet implying that Kino and his family are animals.
Then the servant lies to Kino and Juana telling them that the doctor is on a call. After that, Kino tries to sell his pearl to three different dealers that all lie to him, telling him that his pearl is valueless and is worth no more than 1500 pesos, when the pearl is really worth about 50,000 pesos. Ultimately those dealers try to cheat Kino into selling the pearl for 33 times less than it is really worth! Three different occasions in The Pearl people try to kill Kino for his pearl during the night. They never succeed but his boat and house are destroyed in the process. The main reason Kino does not want to be oppressed is so he won’t be cheated and disrespected anymore than he already is
How was Steinbeck as an advocate for social reform?
Despite Juana’s legitimate concerns Kino feels he must sell the pearl for a fair price, why? Because the return money from the pearl will raise his social class and give Kino and his family a chance in life. That chance will also tell the arrogant whites that they aren’t the only ones who can be successful.
The reason whites don’t want other races to be higher in social class is because they feel their success and class is being threatened. So they discriminate, disrespect, and abuse other races that threaten that class. Whites especially should learn to give other races a chance and hopefully they will learn that they are not the only ones that are or can be successful. If whites in The Pearl had learned this Kino wouldn’t have had to go through all his dangerous, scary and unfair trouble and in the process lose one of his only loves, Coyotito, his baby boy.
The second reason Kino feels he needs to sell the pearl is because the return money will give he and his family a chance in life. As mentioned before Kino and his family live in a poor village. Natives of this village (La Paz) make an extremely small amount of money by finding pearls and selling them to dealers. Most villagers are uneducated, have ragged clothes, an old harpoon, an ancient boat and brush house and of course a family.
Steinbeck John: The Pearl; Penguin (Non-Classics); 1 edition (April 6, 2000)
An Analysis of The Pearl by John Steinbeck
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.
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. 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