Books and Movies Reviews

The Pearl

Throughout life and in society, man has acquired a fascination and appetite for wealth. This is greatly displayed in the non-fiction novel, The Pearl, written by John Steinbeck, which shows the destruction of man’s life through greed. Throughout the novel we are entrapped in the lives of Kino, Juana, and young Coyotito, a poor family living in the city of La Paz. They live a simple, secluded life, and are surrounded constantly by the “song of the family.” This sense of security and comfort is suddenly halted, when a scorpion suddenly appears on the hanging box of Coyotito, bringing the “song of evil.” The family becomes understandably scared and Juana begins to chant sacred prayers in safety of their beloved child. In an attempt to save his child, Kino “leaped to catch it, but it fell past his fingers, fell on the baby’s shoulder, landed and struck.” They attempt to be treated by the doctor, but are turned down because of their financial difficulties.
This story contains much drama and excitement, partly because of the suspense Steinbeck builds throughout the story. An example of this suspense comes when the family is forced to earn money in order to have their baby treated. As a pearl fisherman, Kino and Juana immediately set for the ocean in search of a lucky pearl. After examining his catch for some time, Kino finally begins examining his basket. He finally finds one shell in which he seemed interested in and “slipped his knife into the edge of the shell […] The lip-like flesh writhed up and subsided. Kino lifted the flesh, and there it lay, the great pearl, perfect as the moon […] It was the greatest pearl in the world.” Steinbeck then gives the reader a sense of relief for now they will be able to treat the baby, and hopefully bring happiness into their lives. However, Kino and Juana are now faced with the decision of how they will use their “pearl of the world,” and now have the money to visit the doctor.
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