Symbolism of the Pearl in The Pearl by John Steinbeck
In The Pearl, by John Steinbeck, evil transforms certain humble citizens into envious savages. It is this evil which moves the story along and adds drama. It causes the beginning of a happy spirit, but the downfall of goodness and humanity.
Evil is shown by the doctor many times during the story. At first, he refuses to treat Coyotito because his parents have no money. When the doctor heard of Kino and Juana's fortune in finding "the pearl of the world", the doctor boasts that they were patients of his while thinking of a better life for himself in Paris. This greed and lust cause him to plot ways to gain wealth. Coyotito is healed by the time the doctor comes to Kino's straw hut. He deceives Kino by giving the baby a white powder that makes the infant go into convulsions. The doctor achieves this effect when he tells Kino that the infant is going through a stage of the poison, but not healing. Through this furtive manner the doctor intends on gaining great opulence. With his new wealth he intends to move to a large manor in France. An hour later the doctor returns and gives Coyotito the antidote to the powder and immediately expects to know when he will obtain payment. The evil in the pearl reaches the heart of the doctor.
The pearl's evil infects Kino like a ravaged disease and consumes his mind. He starts off with good intentions, but they become twisted. He wants to sell the pearl and use the money to better his family's lifestyle. He has dreams and goals that each depends on the pearl selling for a good price. Juana sensing the evil and greed coming from Kino attempts to destroy it. Kino beats her unmercifully. "He struck her in the face and she fell among the boulders, and he kicked her in the side...He hissed at her like a snake...