"The Pearl" By Steinbeck Essay

1404 words - 6 pages

The Pearl by John Steinbeck seems like a very simple book on the outside. 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, dignified pearl diver who works hard to support his family. 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) who is forced to stand back and cannot defend himself at all in life.Kino and his family lived on the outside of town near the sea in small brush houses with the other Indians. One morning Coyotito was bitten by a scorpion. Juana insisted on seeing the doctor, although this was rare for the Indians to do. When the doctor would not see them, Kino went pearl diving, in hopes of finding a pearl to pay the doctor. He succeeded in finding a pearl, but not any ordinary pearl. It was a huge, bright, rare pearl known to Kino as the 'Pearl of the World'. (page 21) Soon the whole town knew of this special pearl. Many people visited them. Friends came to see, the priest of the church came to remind Kino of the repairs the church needed and he doctor came to Kino's house to help the baby. The doctor, a truly self-righteous man who only cared about money, actually gave the baby harmful medicine. He came back in an hour and gave the baby more medicine to counteract against the harmful medicine. This made the doctor look like he was very smart. That night the doctor tried to steal the pearl,...

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