The Pearl

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade May 2001

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The PearlThe Pearl, by John Steinbeck, is a classic tale. It is a heavily emotion based book about a man and his fight for his family. Greed, evil, culture, luck, anger, death, happiness, and mystery are all key aspects to this novel. Steinbeck's way of writing pulls the reader into what seems to be another world. A scorpion stings Kino and Juana's baby, Coyotito. The doctor would not come and cure him, because he knew that the family did not have very much money and the doctor didn't want to cure Indians. Kino and Juana decide to take the baby to the doctor, along with some of their neighbors. When they get there, the doctor doesn't want to treat the child because he is a poor Indian boy. Kino realizes that he has to find something of value to be able to pay for Coyotito's treatment.

While oystering, Kino finds a gigantic pearl. Upon hearing about this great find, the doctor decides to heal the child. Kino becomes greedy, and wants to see how much money he can get for the pearl. Juana thinks that the pearl is evil, and she does not want to have anything to do with it. He decides to sell the pearl for 50,000 pesos, but his highest offer was only 1,500 pesos. He decides to go to the capitol to see if he can get a higher bid. The pearl only brings him unhappiness. On his way to the capitol, evil men try to steal his pearl. When they do not succeed, they destroy his canoe, and burn down his house. Kino starts to realize that money cannot buy happiness, but by then it is too late. He is forced to take his family into hiding. Trackers followed them, and Kino is forced to kill one of them. Kino and his family hide in a cave. He goes outside to attack the men that are still there, and one of the men ends up shooting Coyotito. Kino has to go back to town with his grieving wife, and without his son. When Kino and Juana are going to throw the pearl into the Gulf, they look into it. In it they see Coyotito, and the evil that killed him. Then they cast the pearl out into the water. John Steinbeck helps to prove that money and wealth cannot buy happiness. Kino found the pearl and he thought that it was the best thing that had ever happened to him. The pearl ended up costing him the life of his son. The Pearl helps to illustrate the fact that we should be happy with what we have, and we don't realize how important things are until we lose them. From the beginning to the end, The Pearl has suspense in every chapter. Steinbeck manages to tell an entertaining and thought-provoking tale filled with twists and turns. This is an extremely powerful novel that deserves to be read by people of all ages.