The Pearl Canine Imagery Essay

1250 words - 5 pages

The Pearl: Canine Imagery Essay Today, when people in our society think of "dominance," they tend to cringe at the thought, perhaps because of the negative connotations we attach to it. However, in the "animal kingdom," dominance is viewed in a totally different perspective. The animals distinguish dominance as the glue that holds them together. To animals, it is simply a matter of leadership, pecking order as some call it. In John Steinbeck's, The Pearl, Kino, a poor fisherman finds a pearl that may lead him to a wealthy lifestyle, but later is suppressed by a hierarchy that wants to remove any belief he has of improving his station in society. In an animal's social order, heightening one's position is not thought of. Each animal understands that it is either above or below another animal, and conducts itself based on that realization. On the other hand, it is expected of humans to yearn for more. Hence, when greed plays an insidious factor in trying to attain a higher status, falling out of one's "intended place" can spawn reoccurring, uncontrollable changes in a man's behavior. Canine imagery in The Pearl shows how avarice reduces men to predatory animals.By the manner in which they conduct themselves, the pearl buyers have a deep connection with wolves. The first incident in the novel to express how gluttony dehumanizes a man to a primordial animal is when "[Kino] feels the creeping of fate [and] the encircling of wolves" as he attempts to sell his rare pearl. Here, the images of wolves allude to the pearl buyers, who possess an insatiable appetite for Kino's "Pearl of the World" to satisfy their own greedy ambitions. In a pack of wolves, the young, or "the workers," under the alpha male, find an area to reside in and mark it with their own scent. In the same way, the pearl buyers operate under one leader but run their shops with different names. At the first word of Kino's findings, the pearl buyers, within their separate sections of town, gather to conspire and trick Kino into relinquishing his pearl for a mere portion of its actual value. Closely correlated with the pearl buyers' actions is the communal howling of wolves, which serves as a call to assemble its members. Just like wolves, the pearl buyers select their kill based on the prey's weaknesses. Wolves tend to look for old and less agile animals to feed on. Referring to the story, Kino is singled out due to his ignorance, contrary to his educated counterparts, the upper class, which would not be so easily influenced or pliable. Now assembled, the pearl buyers instinctively "encircle" Kino, slowly enclosing him. Depicted as merciless wolves, the pearl buyers display no signs of clemency. Kino is trapped with nearly no possibility to protect himself. To further reinforce their likeness to wolves, which are known for their rapaciousness, the pearl buyers travel in a band, "or pack". The pack's strength in number ensures the overall effectiveness of the outcome. Both wolves and the...

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