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The Pearl, Interpretive Essay

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The Pearl, Interpretive Essay In The Pearl, the author, John Steinbeck, uses the pearl to express what human nature is like. At the beginning of the novel, the pearl that Kino finds is described as large as being incandescent and as “perfect as the moon”; by the end of the novel, the pearl that Kino finds is described as “ugly, gray, like a malignant growth. ” In general, mankind is greedy and evil. In the novel, Steinbeck throughout the entire story, in my opinion, is trying to say that human nature tends to be deception, which can turn something beautiful and great to become something bad and ugly.

First of all, Steinbeck shows humans are instinctively greedy. Steinbeck uses the scene to show humans are gluttonous is where the doctor comes to Kino’s house and heals Coyotito after Kino has found a pearl. When Coyotito is bitten by the scorpion, Kino takes him to the doctor to get treatment, but the doctor refuses to heal Coyotito because Kino is indigent. Later on, after Kino owns the pearl, the doctor comes to Kino’s house and offers a “treatment” for Coyotito. After he “treats” Coyotito, he pretends that he does not know Kino has a pearl and asks Kino about the medical expenses. “You have a pearl?

A good pearl? The doctor asks with interest” (Steinbeck, page 35). The reality is that he wants Kino’s pearl more than giving people. Although the doctor has a lot of money and his life is very plentiful, he still wants more and more. Another example that humans are greedy is the scene where Kino does not want to give up the pearl and keeps all his dreams also demonstrates people’s avarice. Juana, who is smart enough to figure out the reality of the pearl trouble, advises Kino to throw the pearl away. Juana says, “This pearl is evil. This pearl is like a sin. It will destroy us all! “(Steinbeck, page 38).

Even though Juana warns Kino that the pearl will bring misfortunes to the family and advises him to throw the pearl away, Kino neither takes the advice or listens to what his wife says because Kino’s mind is already overtaken by his dreams. He is only thinking of his dreams. Clearly, the greed is surpassed his mind and seems to be controlling him. After Kino has found of “the pearl of the world”, everyone is willing to own it and they begin to start think of their own dreams, “Every men suddenly becomes related to Kino, and Kino’s pearl goes into the dreams, the schemes… man’s enemy” (Steinbeck, page 23).

Then, the narrator says, “For it is said humans are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more” (Steinbeck, page 25). In the scene where people try to steal Kino’s pearl after the pearl is found (Steinbeck, page 37-38), they do whatever that is possible in order to steal the pearl. From greediness comes deception, which is another human characteristic. On pages 48-52 when Kino is trying to sell the pearl, the pearl dealers try to deceive Kino since they believe he is ignorant. They all act in collusion with each other because they want to buy the pearl at a very cheap price.

In order to do that, all dealers tell lies, saying that the pearl was not valuable and it was a monstrosity (too chalky and soft). Finally, my last example, the doctor is deceptive when he comes to Kino’s house and heals Coyotito, the doctor reveals his true intentions (Steinbeck, page 30-33). The doctor makes Coyotito sick for a while by giving him a “potion”, which is in reality a dangerous substance. First, he overstates Coyotito’s state of his illness, saying that he might die if he does not get immediate cure. Since Kino is so worried about his son, he doesn’t question the doctor.

Then, the doctor gives Coyotito another medication, saying it would make him well again. But, reading this you can see that Coyotito is getting better right before the doctor comes to heal him. “The doctor smiles, but his eyes in their little lymph lined hammocks do not smile” (Steinbeck, page 30). As one reads this quote carefully, one can see what the purpose is when the doctor comes to Kino’s house is either to steal the pearl or force Kino to pay for the treatment. The way that the doctor acts seems to be nice, helpful and kind; but really he is just making an illusion to fool Kino.

Last but not least, evil is one of mankinds’ instinctive qualities as well, which comes from peoples’ greed and deception. Steinbeck uses the doctor who refuses to treat Coyotito as a symbol of showing humans are evil. When Coyotito is bitten by the scorpion and Kino asked the doctor for treatments, he rejects to heal the Indian people who are not the same race as he is unless those people have enough money to pay for his service. “Have I nothing better to do than cure insect bites for little Indians? I am a doctor, not a veterinarian” (Steinbeck, page 11). “Has he any money? No, they never have money.

I, I alone in this world am supposed to work for nothing, and I am tired of it. See if he has any money! “(Steinbeck, page 11). Even though he is able to cure Coyotito, he only cures those who can afford the treatment. Also, in the scene where Kino hits Juana when she tries to throw the pearl away back in the sea without asking Kino, this reveals humans are naturally evil. “He strikes her in the face and she falls among the boulders, and he kicks her in the side… He hisses at her like a snake and she stares at him with wide, frightened eyes, like a sheep before a butcher” (Steinbeck, page 59).

Kino has lost his humanity and becomes like an animal, inconsiderate and overtaken by his dreams. Also, Steinbeck uses the scene where people burn down Kino’s house to show humans do evil acts to harm people. Since the pearl dealers cannot think of a way that can deceive Kino, I believe that they are the ones who burned down his house in revenge. Kino’s house has “smokes of the first fires seeped out through the walls of the brush house” (Steinbeck, page 62) and is “a tall edifice of fire lighted the pathway” (Steinbeck, page 63).

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Once again, humans’ avarice and deception have turn into evil and cause them to do evil acts. All in all, Steinbeck states the fact in the novel that humans are born being greedy, deceptive, and evil. The doctor, the townspeople, ad even Kino are affected by these horrid characteristics. Not just in The Pearl, but if you look closely in the lives of everyday people, you’ll see we all can do something bad and the slightest behavior or change of value in an object can change the lives on someone forever.

Author: Brandon Johnson

in The Pearl

The Pearl, Interpretive Essay

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In John Steinbeck's novel The Pearl, a young couple and their baby's peaceful lives are dramatically changed after the discovery of a pearl of great value. The couple begins to dream of the great wealth and the benefits that their family will gain. However, evil lurked, and their lives are shattered by "something infinitely black and evil" in the town, which are symbolized by some type of matters. Certain types of objects symbolized for specific message; for instance, the color red mean love. Therefore, in the novel, symbolism is evident in the characters, colors, and animals and objects. In the novel The Pearl, characters represented elements, which made the tome a tragic story.

Coyotito, the infant son of Kino, the pearl diver, and Juana, the devoted wife, is the character that showed nature in its most undeveloped form. In the struggle between nature and civilization and between good and evil, Coyotito became the innocent victim of powers greater than himself. In addition, Coyotito is the hope for his father, Kino, to live a life of a white man with education and to never be deceived. In the savage wilderness where Kino and Juana found themselves, Coyotito served as their one reminder of society and civilization. Kino is the character that represented the bond between anomalistic and humanity. The Doctor, a physician who poisoned Coyotito, symbolized greed when he swindled Kino by making his son terribly ill for money.

In addition, the entire characters in the novel symbolized for some type of elements; however, colors represented significance as well. There are a plethora of colors that symbolized certain types of elements. The color black represented evil, death, and sorrow because during the raven night, a nefarious black scorpion, which brought horror Kino's family, stung Coyotito. Yellow symbolized sickness and weakness on account of when Coyotito was sung and gained a yellow bump on his arm. White illustrated innocent and hopes; however, white represented destruction because in every white spot there is darkness lurking around. In addition, the colors in the novel symbolized for some type of elements; however, animals and objects represented significance as well.

Objects and animals symbolized elements of the disastrous book as well as characters and colors. The pearl presented itself as hope and wealth; however, the pearl represented destruction. The pearl only brought chaos to the Kino's family by bringing death upon his child. Furthermore, the pearl made Kino to lose his home, canoe, and nearly his humanity. Kino's home showed his wife, Juana, that he could support her by having a roof over her head.

The canoe represented Kino's heritage by being pass down from generation to generation. The scorpion was the sinister that caused Kino to look for the pearl to cure his child. The goat with the yellow spots symbolized the devil, because the devil had hooves and usually the devil is in the form of a goat. The gun represented the savage in a human because Kino became inhumane when he posed the rifle in the mountains. Therefore objects and animals could represent elements of a tragic story. In the novel The Pearl, it contained a great amount of symbolism, which is hidden in the tome's characters, colors, animals, and objects.

However, the novel showed that evil could lurk out in the purist item like the pearl.


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