"The Pearl" By John Steinbeck

Essay by MediaViolence669Junior High, 8th gradeA, March 2004

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John Steinbeck uses many examples of animal imagery to help readers better understand characters' motivations and the complexity of the situations in which they find themselves. The short novel The Pearl is an extremely complex and elaborate story that is littered with extensive character emotions and actions as well as confusing situations, which the animal imagery helps grasp in an understandable way.

A good example of animal imagery that is applied to The Pearl is the way John describes Kino when he senses the danger when he and his family, Juana and Coyotito, are running away to a safe place. Steinbeck states that Kino had a sort of "animal light" in his eyes as he awakened and hushed Juana and Coyotito in order to listen. It's interpreted into the fact that the "animal light" in his eyes was like his animal instinct, telling him that something wasn't right. It's similar to the way a father animal protects and cares for his wife and children.

They have like a sixth sense where they can sense when there is something threatening what they love the most. In the story, Kino can sense that they are being persued by trackers and that they are a threat to his family.

Another example is the way the two unhorsed trackers acted when searching the desolate land for Kino and the pearl. "The trackers whined a little, like excited dogs on a warming trail." This shows how motivated and determined they were to find Kino and that "pearl of the world". The trackers were driven to the point that they actually "scuttled over the ground like animals and found a sign and crouched over it...". It shows that when they are so obsessed over finding something of great importance, they actually resort to their animal...