The Pearl by John Steinbeck | Teen Ink

The Pearl by John Steinbeck

October 21, 2009
By jppzl14 BRONZE, Moultire, Georgia
jppzl14 BRONZE, Moultire, Georgia
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

The Pearl, by John Steinbeck was great, it is by far the most emotional book I've read.

Steinbeck does a wonderful job describing each and everyone of his characters. Kino, the main

character, is describe throughout the story like a man struggling within himself. To me, he appears

as if he was trying to become a man but he doesn't know how. He could be described as caring, well-

liked (until he found the pearl), religious, easily motivated, aggressive, and somewhat wise, but

overall a man with many illusions that wants the best for his family. "My son will read and open the

books, and my son will write and will know writing."pg.26 and "In the pearl he saw Juana and

Coyotito and himself standing and kneeling at the high altar, and they were being married now that

they could pay."pg.24, these quotes mention some of the plans Kino has made. Juana, Kino's wife,

throughout the story is viewed as a tough woman with few fears, by Kino. In fact, Kino seems to

admire Juana for her bravery during difficult times. "He looked then for weakness in her face, for

fear or irresolution, and there was none. ....he had taken strength from her."pg 78. And, like Kino,

Juana is also very caring and wants the best for the family. She goes so far as to attempting to throw

the pearl back to the sea, after seeing how it was slowly destroying her family. " He struck her in the

face with his clenched fist and she fell among the boulders, and he kicked her in the side."pg.59, this

happens after Kino managed to stop Juana from returning the pearl to its resting place. She no longer

cares about the money it'll give them, all she wants is to restore the peace they had before they found

it. She also appears to be a very religious woman that seeks god and Virgin Mary's help, when in

trouble. Like in these quotes: "Under her breath Juana repeated an ancient magic to guard against

such evil, and on top of that she muttered a Hail Mary between clenched teeth."pg.5 and "...Juana

whispered her combination of prayer and magic, her Hail Marys and her ancient intercession, against the black inhuman things."pg.84. One of the many antagonist is the doctor, he is a cruel man that

refuses to treat Coyotito, Kino and Juana's only son, after a scorpion had bit him. "Have I nothing

better to do than cure insect bites for 'little Indians'? I am a doctor, not a veterinary."pg.11, this quote

is stated by the doctor to his servant, after he had been asked if he wanted to see Kino's sick son. He

is also filled with hypocrisy, he after, knowing that Kino had found a valuable pearl decides to treat

Coyotito and even then he gives the baby a medicine that worsens his health. Not only was the

doctor evil, he was also racist and classy, which at the time the book took place was common due to

the practice of segregation. Another hypocrite is the priest, after confirming that it was true that

Kino had indeed found a wonderful pearl he reminds him to thank god for this gift and is delighted

after hearing that getting marry is one of Kino and Juana's first intentions after selling the pearl, he

had before refused to marry them due to them not having money. “It came to the priest walking in

his garden, and it put a thoughtful look in his eyes and a memory of certain repairs necessary to the

church."pg.21, he thought that now that Kino was rich he could donate some money to his church for

repairs. The priest was very like the doctor himself. He was very greedy and corrupt. That is,

because he didn’t see the church as a place to worship god, he saw it as a way to get money, for

himself. Kino himself couldn’t have said it better, “cheaters“ that is the best term to describe the

pearl buyers. They try to cheat Kino off by offering him the small amount of one thousand pesos,

knowing the gorgeous pearl was worth more. Fortunately, Kino was wise enough and refused to sell

his pearl to them. So he decides to go north, to the capital, and perhaps sell it at a better price.

Lastly, but not least, the man with the rifle, the man that ended Coyotito's life, the man who

completely changed the life's of both Kino and Juana, and the man who also ended Kino's wonderful

illusions. Yes, he did, and he paid for it with his on life. He had been one of the three trackers that

had been hunting Kino down, seeking his pearl. Kino knew that the only way to continue his journey north was to eliminate his enemies. Kino had seen him as the target to go first for, on his mission to

kill all his trackers, this was because not only was he the one with the gun but he was also the one

wide awake and on guard. And he achieved his goal, he had killed the three trackers, but it had cost

him the life of his son.

The text's publication date is 1945, but afterwards it is publicized again in 1947. Around that

point in time segregation is practiced, which apparently affects Steinbeck’s writing. Take the doctor

for example, he didn’t want to mix with the “Indians”, as he called them. He was of a different

social class and of a different race. The fact that Steinbeck was raised in an agricultural

community in North Carolina also plays a role in his writing. He was also exposed to many

workers on farms and this also impacts his writing greatly. Even though, in this case he used a pearl

driver as his main character and not a fieldworker, he magnificently describes the life of a field

worker through a pearl driver. To me, some possible themes could be: money isn't everything, it just

helps you economically or never plan ahead of time because you never know what might happen. I

came to this theme because Kino was always planning his future, saying he was going to do so many

things with the money of the pearl, and look how he ended, worse than how he started no pearl, no

money, and worst of all no son.

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