Imagery And Character Analysis In The Pearl
In the very beginning of the book, Kino watches as his son, Coyotio sleeps. While he is sleeping, Coyotito is stung by a scorpion despite Kino’s efforts to catch it and kill it. They go to the doctor to get Kino treated for the sting but the doctor refuses care. By some miracle, he survives. They end up going to the sea after this visit to the doctor despite his swollen arm. Kino ends up going off of the side of his canoe and diving to find pearls under the sea while his wife stays on the shore and prays that he will find a massive pearl. He finds a very large oyster that has a huge pearl in it. Both Kino and his wife are overjoyed. The news of kino’s discovery spreads through the town quickly. Kino decides that he is going to pawn his pearl to pay the doctor, and education for his son, and other nice things for the family. The next day, Kino goes to sell the pearl. He is given what he thinks are very low bids on the pearl. After trying a few other places, Juana wants to get rid of the pearl, insisting that it is only causing them trouble. Kano wants to keep trying to sell it. That night, Juana tries to take the pearl and throw it back in the sea, however Kino catches her and beats her. On his way home, he is confronted by another group of guys that try to take the pearl. Kino kills one of them and that is enough to scare the rest of them off. Juana brushes herself off and returns to Kino, telling him that they need to run away because he is a murderer. They go to pack everything and find their canoe destroyed and their house on fire. They decide to hide at a neighbor’s house. They lay low there for the day and then head out to the capital at sundown. They find out that three trackers have followed them. Kino decides to go up a mountain to try to lose the trackers. On the mountain they find a cave. They make a misleading trail and hide at the cave. Coyotio makes a loud noise that wakes the trackers. Kino decides that he must attack the trackers and kills all three of them. After he kills the trackers, he realizes that one of the stray bullets had hit his son in the cave. The next day, Kino and Juana travel to the sea and Kino musters the courage to throw the pearl back into the sea.
Kino is an interesting character. He is very persistent in what he wants. Throughout the story, despite the fact that horrible things are happening to him and his family, Kino hangs on to the pearl. This causes a lot of struggle for the family and is indirectly the reason why his son gets shot. If he had not been such a stubborn person and had thrown the pearl in to the sea earlier, he could have avoided lots of issues. At the beginning of the book, Kino is content with what he has. After he finds his massive pearl and realizes that he can use it to get rich, he starts to get greedy. He thinks that he can have anything he wants and that his pearl is worth more than any of the pawn shops value it at. This extreme persistence leads him into multiple bad situations that involve him killing people. The first incident is as he is walking back to his house, a group of guys wants to steal the pearl and he ends up killing one of them and that is enough to scare the rest of them off. This shows the extreme lengths he is willing to go to to show people that the pearl is his and the fortune belongs to no one else. He has another murder experience when he kills the three guys that followed him and his family up the mountain to the cave. Although this time one of the men manages to shoot his kid, and he realizes this after he has gotten back from taking care of the men.
The other main character in the story is a woman named Juana. She is the wife of Kino and the mother of Coyotito. She is a much more passive and careful character in the story. Most of the time she really stops to take in all the details of a situation. She is a much more abstract person, focusing on things like praying while Kino is looking for a pearl in the sea. In the story, Juana is there to give the reader a reality check. She balances out all of Kino’s crazy ideas and visions with her own perspective of digging deeper than the surface with things. She is a much more conservative and humble person than Kino is. Whie kino is always quick to get himself into trouble, weather it be with his mouth or his actions, Juana tries to stay in the background, only interceding when she needs to. Shortly after the pearl was found, it was Juana’s idea to throw it into the sea. She was able to step back and look at the bigger picture and see all the bad things that it was bringing upon the family. However Kino’s entire vision of reality is taken up by the pearl and his dreams of the fortune it could bring them, and he fails to see that it is doing more harm than good.
“In the town, in little offices, sat the men who bought pearls from the fishers. They waited in their chairs until the pearls came in, and then they cackled and fought and shouted and threatened until they reached the lowest price the fisherman would stand. But there was a price below which they dared not go, for it had happened that a fisherman in despair had given his pearls to the church.” (Page 29) This quote is a prime example of greed. Greed has corrupted almost everyone in the town at this point. Greed is an easy emotion to come to. It is in our human nature to always want more than the guy next to us. The Pearl had brought this emotion to Kino more than anyone. As he is preparing to sell the pearl, he gets a huge imaginary number in his head as to what the asking price might be. He is to be let down by all of the shops in town. This leads him on an endless journey to find someone who will pay his price for the pearl, not the price everyone else had been offering him. In this journey he encounters many troubles, but he feels as if they are all worth it to find the one person who will pay a bunch of money for his pearl. Finally at the end of the story, his wife Juana breaks down some of the pride and greed in him and convinces him to throw the pearl in the sea. This is an important theme that the author is trying to convey. That sometimes one must lay aside his pride, greed, and lust for the world for the greater good. In this case the greater good is the well being of Kino’s family, which he eventually realizes has to be put before an abstract fortune that he thinks he has through his pearl.
‘Kino, this pearl is evil. Let us destroy it before it destroys us. Let us crush it between two stones. Let us – let us throw it back in the sea where it belongs. Kino, it is evil, it is evil! (Page 73 and 74) The big theme of the book that the author wants you to take away is the battle between good and evil. This is displayed throughout the story in Kino’s battle with the pearl. He is forced to choose between the good of a life without greed and a pearl and a life with evil with a pearl that revolves around material things. This battle of good and evil is one that we all have to fight. In our daily lives we have to choose between the evil but yet easier ways of the world and the good but also harder to follow ways of God. He will always lead us down a path of good. In this story Kino and Juana’s relationship is an example of the struggle between good and evil. In their relationship, Kino is the evil one, finding the joys in earthly pleasures while ignoring the evil around him. Juana is the voice of the good. A soft one that does not force itself upon Kino, but lets Kino come to it. By the end of the novel, Kino had realised what the pearl was doing to him and his family and decided that he would join the ranks of the good by giving the pearl back to the sea, where it came from.
I realize that this book is on your list of ‘filet mignons’ but I would not tend to agree. I found it not very engaging and the plot was not exactly my cup of tea. I have read many other books that make this book seem quite boring such as my other two book a months: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Scorch Trials. This book did not give me a hard time putting it down like the others did with their constant, high-paced action and suspense
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