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Allegory In The Pearl Essay

888 words - 4 pages

The Pearl , written by John Steinbeck, has caught the eyes of many literary critics. The Pearl is a novel about a young man named Kino whose som is bitten by a scorpion. When the son is taken to the doctor , the physician refuses to treat him because the family has no money. In desperation Kino and his wife Juana pray for a miracle. One day Kino, a pearl diver , discovers a lustrous pearl that would hopefully pay for his son's recovery. In the mean time the young son Coyotito recovers on his own; therefore, Kino begins to marvel at all the wonderful things the pearl could bring. In the end, the pearl brings nothing but frustration and loss. Kino and Juana contentedly fling the pearl back into the ocean, only to return to the simple life once more. Steinbeck's brilliant novel accurately depicts allegory to implement the book's purpose. There are five significant interpretations of allegory presented by The Pearl , all sufficiently justified.John Ernst Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902, in Salinas , California. (Magill 2519). Steinbeck's first short novel, The Pearl , is based on a local legend he heard in Baja , California (Day 106). Some people, however, feel that Steinbeck wrote the novel based on his personal convictions (Anderson 1). John Steinbeck's methods have always been close to an allegorical one. Even his earliest works, such as The Grapes of Wrath, show evidence of allegory (Davis 149). In his remarks Steinbeck lets us know that The Pearl is not totally realistic, "I tried to write it as a folklore , to give it that set-aside, raised-up feeling that all folk stories have," so one could expect some form of allegory (Steinbeck 3). Some see The Pearl as a strong allegorical message about human greed. KIno becomes the symbol of the poor but happy man who is destroyed when he begins to want the things of the material world (Barron 1). It is nt so much that Kino is an impoverished Mexican fisherman ( although he is): more importantly, he represents an everyday man faced with the temptation of wealth beyond his wildest imagination (Stillmen 2). The pearl that was supposed to bring happiness and fulfillment brings only destruction(Barron 1). As Steinbeck puts it, "humans are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more, " (Bloom 28).Several critics see The Pearl as an allegory of social oppression. In this view, Juan Thomas is a symbol of the ancient Indian wisdom, Kino is a symbol of the Indian's desire for freedom, and the...

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