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The Pearl: Depictions Of Life Essay

787 words - 3 pages

The Pearl: Depictions of Life

     In John Steinbeck's The Pearl, a destitute pearl diver finds a giant
pearl with which he hopes to buy peace and happiness for his family. Instead,
he learns that the valuable pearl can not buy happiness but only destroy his
simple life. Throughout the fable, there is a constant theme woven through the
characters and setting which encompasses the struggle among social classes to
become successful. Steinbeck, a novelist known for his realistic depictions of
life, portrays this motif through Kino, the doctor, Coyotito, and the town of La
Paz.
     John Earnst Steinbeck, author of The Pearl and many other stories, was
born on February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California. Both his father, who ran a
flour mill, and his mother, a teacher, encouraged him to write once they saw his
early interest in literature. Steinbeck began his career by writing articles
for his school newspaper and by taking classes at Stanford University. At the
same time, he worked at a local ranch where he witnessed the harsh treatment of
migrant workers. These underpriveleged laborers later served as the inspiration
for many of his novels, including The Grapes of Wrath. The Pearl, another
inspiration from his past, originated from a legend about the misfortunes of a
poor boy who found a giant pearl that was told to Steinbeck while on a trip to
Mexico.
     Kino, the protagonist in The Pearl, is an honest pearl diver that
discovers the sacrifices that come with the struggle for success. He dreams of
the education the pearl could provide for his son, but the pearl also makes Kino
more suspicious of the peaceful villagers around him. At one point, he tries to
sell the pearl in order to pay for a doctor Coyotito needs, but the pearl buyers
only try to cheat him of the success he feels he deserves. Then Kino tries to
leave the town, but his fear only causes him to shoot Coyotito accidentally.
Finally, Kino returns to La Paz and throws the pearl into the sea. Kino, a
symbol of hard work and ambition, is destroyed by his dreams of a better life.
     The town doctor also demonstrates how the struggle for success can
corrupt people. This "healer" is more interested in money than the welfare of
others. While drinking expensive tea out of tiny china cups, he sits in his
large white house and dreams of returning to Paris. When Juana comes to ask if
he will treat Coyotito's scorpion sting, he promptly sends her promptly...

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