The Pearl by John Steinbeck Chapter I Kino, a poor Indian woke up on a beautiful morning.
Kino walked outside his small brush house beside the Gulf wrapped in a blanket to enjoy the majesty of the morning and the Gulf while Juana, Kino's wife, started a fire and prepared corncakes for breakfast. While Juana sung a beautiful song as she worked, the relevance of music in the Indians' life was explained by the storyteller (The ancient Indians made up a song about every little occurrence in daily life. The songs included the "Song of the Family," a tune about the togetherness of loved ones and the "Song of Evil," a song about the appearance of enemies. The present Indians only thought about these songs when such occurrences arose.).
When Kino returned, he ate his prepared breakfast. Kino and Juana were drawn away from their breakfast when they noticed a scorpion climbing on a rope suspending the crib of Coyotito, Juana and Kino's first born baby.
As Coyotito laughed, the rope shook and the scorpion fell on the infant and struck him. Juana tried to suck the poison from Coyotito's wound. As a crowd developed around Juana and Kino's house, the couple decided to take the baby to the rich town doctor who lived on the nice side of town. The doctor was very prejudiced against Kino's race and therefore refused the baby care. The doctor also refused care to the baby because of Kino's lack of money. As Kino left the doctor's mansion, he punched the doctor's gate.
Chapter II Kino and Juana set out to the Gulf. First Jauna removed some seaweed from the water and applied it to Coyotito's swollen shoulder wound. The couple next took Coyotito with them as they sailed into the Gulf to find a pearl. They figured that if they salvaged a pearl from the murky depths of the ocean, Kino might be able to pay the doctor to care for the scorpion-bitten baby. Kino then dived into the ocean with the "Song of the Pearl That Might Be." As he approached the ocean floor, Kino started to fill his basket with barnacle-covered oysters. Kino then found a very large oyster and brought it up to the surface with high hopes of finding a pearl. Kino then entered the canoe and began to open up the oysters to try to find a shiny piece of organic cement wrapped in an oyster's muscle. He did not open the large oyster first because Kino believed his luck would be better if he pried open the large oyster last. After a while Juana pressured Kino to open the enormous oyster. Inside the large oyster the couple found the greatest pearl either of them had ever seen. The pearl Kino and Juana found was about as big as a sea-gull's egg and had perfect curves. To add to magical occurrences of the day, the swelling in Coyotito's shoulder had decreased considerably. The poison in the baby's system was luckily receding. When the other pearl divers around Kino heard of his discovery, they came quickly.
Chapter III Word spread through Kino's town. By the time Kino, Juana, and Coyotito arrived home, everyone in town was already aware of and buzzing about Kino's miraculous discovery. Kino's friends and relatives came to the brush hut to marvel at the pearl. When Kino looked at the pearl he envisioned a better life for his family. Kino wanted his family to have new clothes and new objects of value. Above all, Kino wanted his son Coyotito to be educated and for himself and Juana to be formally married. Later on the doctor came to pay a visit to Coyotito since the doctor envied the pearl. The doctor gave the baby some medicine and returned a little while later when the baby was well again.
The doctor mentioned the matter of the medical bill; and Kino told the doctor that the pearl would be sold the next day; and Kino would then pay the doctor. After the doctor left, Kino buried the pearl in the ground of his hut. That night, Kino heard someone trying to steal the pearl from the hut.
Kino took his knife and lashed out in the darkness in a blinding fury at the theft. Kino stabbed the burglar, and the burglar ran away. After this incident, Juana tried to convince Kino that the pearl was evil and would do more harm than good. Juana pleaded to Kino to break the pearl between two stones. Nevertheless, Kino refused to destroy the pearl because he believed the pearl would be the only chance for their son to get a good start on life. After hearing Kino's rebuttal, Juana smiled and sided with Kino.
Chapter IV In the morning Kino's family and Kino's brother, Juan Tomas, set off to sell the pearl to a pearl buyer in town.
That morning businesses closed down and everyone went to the pearl buyers' to watch the sale of the pearl. When Kino went to the pearl buyers', the first buyer tried to cheat Kino by offering him merely one thousand pesos for the pearl. The buyer told Kino that the pearl was too large to be taken seriously and that the pearl was a monstrosity. Obviously, Kino knew the buyer's statement was false. When other buyers talked to Kino, they also told him that the pearl was just a novelty item. When Kino decided to take his business elsewhere, it was too late for the buyers. They had played too hard for Kino. Kino the decided to journey to the capital of Mexico to sell the pearl. When Kino got home, he buried the pearl again in his hut. Kino fell asleep but woke up again when he heard a burglar outside his brush house.
Kino had a large fight with the intruder but could not identify him. When the fight was over, the burglar ran away, and Kino ended up with a slash on his face from his ear to his cheek to his chin. After this scrap, Juana once again begged Kino to destroy the pearl. Kino was still determined to make good for his son, however. Later that night, Kino admitted his fears of travelling to the capital city to his Juana. Juana consoled her beloved husband and assured Kino that she would go with him to the capital.
Chapter V In the morning, Kino woke up to the sound of his wife running out to the shore with the pearl. Just as Juana was about to hurl the stone out into the sea, Kino ran up behind Juana and grabbed her wrist and the stone fell on the shore.
Kino slapped his wife in her face and kicked her in the side for trying to get rid of the pearl. Kino was then attacked by an unknown man. The two fought and the unknown man was killed. Juana picked the pearl up off the shore and brought Kino to reality. Juana explained that the family must leave their town because any way they saw it, a murder was a murder. Kino preceded to find his canoe, only to find that his boat has been destroyed by some unknown person. The destruction of Kino's boat greatly angered Kino because the possession of a boat in his town was a sign of masculinity.
As Kino turned back towards his house he noticed that his brush house had been set afire by a jealous neighbor. Juana struggled to rescue Coyotito from the great blaze, and the whole family hid in the house of Juan Tomas, Kino's elder brother, and Apolonia, Juan Tomas' wife. When Apolonia found Kino's family hiding in her house, Kino informed her of his predicament. Kino also told his brother that Juana and Coyotito would go with Kino to some place far away. Juan Tomas borrowed some food supplies and certain tools from neighbors and gave them to Kino for aid on his secret voyage.
Kino told his brother that since Kino's pearl had already become a part of his soul, Kino would keep it forever.
Chapter VI Kino, Juana, and Coyotito traveled on foot all day and all night. At one point, the couple decided to sit down and take a rest. While Kino was resting, he saw three figures off in the distance. He recognized these people to be trackers. Kino then hid himself until his pursuers temporarily left, and Kino's family began to run madly through the brush and ended up in the desert area. Here, the family fled over ground and hills. Finally, Kino found a small erosional cave to hide in. The family waited all night long in the cave until the trackers camped out in front of it. Kino quietly sneaked out of the cave in preparation to kill the tracker that had the gun and was awake. One of the trackers awoke from his slumber when he heard Coyotito crying. The man with the gun then fired in the direction of the baby because he thought Coyotito was actually a howling coyote. Kino then leapt out and killed the man with the gun.
Once Kino had the gun, he shot the two remaining trackers.
Sometime later, Kino and Juana returned to their town. They silently walked through the streets as many onlookers gathered around. The couple quit walking when they came to the sea. Kino hurled the cursed pearl back into the sea, believing that the pearl had given Kino and Juana their own share of misfortune.