The Pearl Essay, Research Paper
Kino, Juana and their infant son Coyotito live in a modest brush house by the sea. One
morning, calamity visits their home when Coyotito is bitten by a scorpion. With hopes of
protecting their son, Kino and Juana rush him to the doctor’s clinic in town. However,
when they arrive at the gate, they are turned away because they are poor natives
and not paying customers.
Later that same morning, Kino and Juana take their family canoe out to the estuary to go
diving for pearls. Juana makes a poultice for Coyotito’s wound while Kino canvases the
sea bottom. Juana’s prayers for a large pearl are answered when Kino surfaces with the
largest pearl either of them has ever seen. Kino lets out a triumphant yell at his good
fortune, prompting the surrounding boats to circle in and examine the treasure.
In the afternoon, the whole neighborhood gathers at Kino’s brush house to celebrate his
find. Kino names a list of things that he will secure for his family with his newfound
wealth, including a church wedding and an education for his son. The neighbors marvel
at Kino’s boldness, wondering if he is wise or foolish to hold such ambitions.
Toward evening, the local priest visits Kino, to bless him on his new fortune, and to
remind him of his place within the church. Shortly after, the doctor arrives,
explaining that he was out in the morning but has come now to cure Coyotito. He
administers a powdered capsule and promises to return in an hour.
In this period, Coyotito grows violently ill and Kino decides to bury the pearl
under the floor in a corner of the brush house. After the doctor returns, he feeds Coyotito
a potion to quiet the baby’s spasms. When the doctor inquires about payment, Kino
explains the story of the pearl to him. This intrigues the doctor greatly, and Kino is left
with an uneasy feeling.
Before going to bed, Kino re-buries the pearl beneath his sleeping mat. That night, he is
wakened by an intruder, who is digging a hole in the corner in hopes of finding the pearl.
A violent struggle ensues, and Kino is left bloodied in his efforts to chase away the
criminal. Juana, terribly upset by this turn of events, proposes to abandon the pearl,
which she considers an agent of evil.
The next morning, Kino and Juana make their way to town in an attempt to sell the pearl.
Juan Tomas, Kino’s brother, advises Kino to be wary of cheats. Each dealer Kino visits
makes an absurdly low bid on the pearl. Kino indignantly refuses to accept their offers,
resolving instead to take his pearl to the capital. That evening, as they prepare to leave,
Juan Tomas cautions his brother against being overly proud, and Juana reiterates her wish
to be rid of the pearl. Kino silences her, explaining that he is a man and will take care of
In the middle of the night, Juana steals away with the pearl. Kino wakes as she leaves and
pursues her, apprehending her only at the shore. Just as she is poised to throw the pearl
into the sea, he tackles her, takes the pearl back, and beats her violently, leaving her in a
crumpled heap on the beach. As he returns to the brush house, he is confronted by a
group of hostile men who try to take the pearl from him. He fights them off, killing one
and causing the rest to flee, but loses control of the pearl in the process.
As Juana ascends from the shore to the brush house, she finds the pearl lying in the path.
Just beyond, she sees Kino on the ground, next to the dead man. He bemoans the loss of
the pearl, which she presents to him. He explains that he had no intention to kill, but she
insists that he will be labeled a murderer regardless. They resolve to flee at once, and
Kino rushes back to the shore to prepare the canoe, while Juana returns home to gather
Coyotito and their belongings.
Kino arrives at the shore only to find his canoe destroyed by vandals. When he ascends
the hill, he sees a fire blazing, and realizes that his house has burned down. Desperate to
find refuge, Kino, Juana and Coyotito duck into Juan Tomas’s house, where they hide out
for the afternoon. Thinking the three perished in the blaze, Juan Tomas and Apolonia
reluctantly agree to keep Kino and Juana’s secret, and provide shelter for them while
pretending to be ignorant of their whereabouts.
At nightfall, Kino, Juana, and Coyotito set out for the cities that lie to the north. Skirting
the town, they travel until sunrise, when they take shelter in a roadside covert. They sleep
for most of the day, and are preparing to set out again when Kino discovers that a trio of
trackers are on their trail. After a moment of indecision, Kino decides that they must flee
up the mountain, in hopes of eluding the trackers. A breathless ascent brings them to a
water source, where they rest and take shelter in a nearby cave. Kino attempts to mislead
the trackers by creating a false trail up the mountain. Then Kino, Juana and Coyotito hide
in the cave, waiting for their opportunity to flee back down the mountain and away from
The trackers are long in their pursuit, finally arriving at the watering hole at dusk. They
make camp nearby, and two take to sleeping while the other stands watch. Kino decides
that he must attempt to attack them unawares before the late moon rises. He strips naked
and sneaks up to striking distance. Just as he is prepared to pounce on them, Coyotito lets
out a cry, waking the sleepers. When one of them fires his rifle in the direction of the cry,
Kino makes his move, killing the trackers in a violent flurry. In the aftermath, Kino
slowly realizes that the shot has struck and killed his son in the cave.
The next day, Kino and Juana make their way back through town and the outlying brush
houses, Juana with her dead son slung over her shoulder. They walk all the way to the
sea, with onlookers watching in silent fascination the whole while. At the shore, Kino
pulls the pearl out from his clothing and takes a last hard look at it. And then, with all his
might, under a setting sun, he flings the pearl back into the sea .