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Kino’s Songs Essay

1235 words - 5 pages

Kino is the main character of The Pearl by John Steinbeck.
Kino often “hears” songs that represent his situation. For example if he is in danger he may hear the Song of Evil or the Song of the Enemy. The songs in this book set the theme for what has happened, what will happen, and what is happening. In The Pearl Kino hears the Song of Family, the Song of Evil, and the Song of the Pearl.
The Song of Family symbolizes the balance of Kino’s life and how content he is. It is most prevalent in The Pearl near the beginning and the end of the book. In the beginning, Kino hears it when he first wakes up and later when he is determined to get the doctor.
In Kino’s head there was a song now, clear and soft, and if he had been able to speak of it, he would have called it the Song of the Family…Juana sang softly an ancient song that had only three notes and yet endless variety of interval. And this was part of the family song too. It was all part. Sometimes it rose to an aching chord that caught the throat, saying this is safety, this is warmth, this is the Whole. Across the brush fence were other brush houses, and the smoke came from them too, and the sound of breakfast, but those were other songs, their pigs were other pigs, their wives were not Juana. (Steinbeck 2-3)
The song shows that Kino is extremely satisfied and happy with his life and family life even though it is almost the exact same as any other family who lives near them. At the end he once again hears the Song of Family when he finally relinquishes the pearl after Coyotito’s death and throws it to the sea. “In Kino’s ears the Song of the Family was as fierce as a cry. He was immune and terrible, and his song had become a battle cry…And Kino heard the music of the pearl, distorted and insane…And Kino drew back his arm and flung the pearl with all his might” (Steinbeck 89-90). This shows how much of a hold the pearl had had over his personality and also how quickly he went back to being the person he was before he found the pearl, the kind that does not punch his wife in the face. The Song of Family represents the balance of Kino’s life.
The Song of Enemy is heard when Kino feels he is in danger or in the presence of an enemy. It is present in the beginning and throughout much of the body of the book. In the beginning the Song of Evil is brought forward by the scorpion on Coyotitio’s hanging box.
Down the rope that hung the baby’s box from the roof support a scorpion moved slowly…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 of the Family cried plaintively…[It] fell on the baby’s shoulder, landed and struck…His teeth were bared and fury flared in his eyes and the Song of the Enemy roared in his ears. (Steinbeck 5-6)
This is where the Song of Evil is first introduced. It shows that when Kino hears the Song of the Enemy, the Song of Family is oppressed. Kino also becomes more...

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