"The Pearl" by John Steinbeck

Essay by ailen121Junior High, 8th gradeA+, February 2004

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The Pearl

The story of The Pearl is about the life of an indigenous man and his people, and his struggles with the pearl of the world. There are three objects that are used as symbols, the scorpion, the pearl, and the canoe. Each represents a specific way of life that was experienced throughout the book.

The scorpion represents the song of evil. It endangers the family, and it is a foe. "...the Song of Evil, the music of the enemy, of any foe of the family, a savage, secret, dangerous melody..." (pg 6) The scorpion also represents troubles of the family, for its poison might infect Coyotito. It is also the first sign of conflict, as before the scorpion appeared all was well in Kino's world. Its poison is also the thing that leads them to the pearl however, as without it they would not have searched so frantically for a pearl to save Coyotito's life.

It is poison is a curse, yet a blessing; a sheep in wolves clothing.

The pearl is that which the story lays its foundation upon. It represents the troubles with which Kino searched for it, the poison of the scorpion. It represents "The Song of the Pearl That Might Be", which represents the hope for a new beginning, for a change from their poverty.

The relief they felt when they found it, for this pearl would save Coyotito. The pearl also leads them out of their past life, for they now control riches that can supply their life. Yet, it is also the source of much of their anxiety; they feel they must contain it, for there are many who would have the pearl for themselves. In the end however, it brings horrible fortunes as well as irony, as...