Self Destruction Through Greed Essay, Research Paper
In the novel ?The Pearl? by John Steinbeck. Juana, Kino, the Priest, and the doctor have all undergone a change due to money. They are all affected by their need to be wealthy and inturn are setting themselves up for their own destruction, and the destruction of society. Steinbeck’s “The Pearl” is a story of man’s self-destruction through greed. Juana, the wife of Kino, who was a hard working peasant man, had lived a spiritual life for as long as she could remember. When her son Coyito became ill from a bite of a scorpion, she turned towards the spiritual aspects of life. She started to pray for her son’s endangered life. The doctor who lived in the upper-class section of the town, refused to treat the child because he was of a lower class and Kino did not have the money, he turned them away when they arrived at his door. Out of choices and money Kino turned to the sea to look for pearls. While Kino was diving for pearls he came across the largest and flawless pearl he had ever seen. When Juana first saw the “Pearl of The World.” she felt as though her prayers had been answered. Now that Kino had the pearl he had a new problem. He had to protect it. A man tried to steal the pearl from him while he slept. This is where the problems for Juana and her family began. The fear that had grown in Kino’s mind had taken control over his actions, he quickly attacked the man and protected his pearl, something he would have never done before. Soon Juana, who had always had faith in her husband, had started to doubt him. “It will destroy us all” she yelled as she attempted to get rid of the pearl. But Kino did not listen, and soon Juana began to lose her spiritual side and for a long time she had forgotten her prayers that had meant so much to her. An oath is said before each medical student is granted a Doctors degree. In the oath they swear to aid the ill, and cure the injured. In the village of La Paz there was a doctor who had gathered his wealth by helping people that were ill and could afford his services. Not once in his life would he have refused to aid a wealthy lawyer or noblemen. However when Kino arrived at his door with a poisoned child he refused them treatment saying “Have I nothing better to do than cure insect bites for `little Indians’? I am a doctor, not a veterinary.” the doctor knew that Kino hadn’t any money. However it seemed that he had been stereotypical of Kino, but as soon as he discovered the wealth of Kino?s pearl he decided to visit Kino?s house and begin treatment of his son. However he had already ended Coyito’s life without knowing what he had done, if he had given treatment to Coyito when they first arrived at the doctors door, Kino would have no reason to have looked for pearls in the ocean, and would not be led down the road of greed. A doctor has the image of being passive, and caring and should never refuse treatment to anyone because of money or social status. In La Paz the peasants were uneducated and probably had never heard of superstition. The family?s only safety was in God. God had always been there to help them when they needed it. The first reaction of Juana when she saw the scorpion is an example of spirituality, rather than trying to kill the scorpion she began to pray to God for safety. In La Paz the only form of God that the peasants knew was the Priest of the church. To the peasants the Priest was God-like and they were unable to see many of his faults. However the reader is able to determine that the Priest is abusing his position. In order to receive the sacraments the person requesting the sacrament must “donate” a small amount of money to the church. The church definitely needs funding but if the peasants are unable to donate these funds should they be refused the sacraments? The Priest is so set on achieving money and social status that he puts aside the real reason he became a Priest. In “The Pearl”, Steinbeck expresses the fact that man’s want for wealth and social status leads to the self-destruction of man, both mentally, and physically. The Priest of La Paz, The doctor, Kino, and Juana were all affected by the affects of greed. Whether they were striving for wealth or are in the path of those that are, they are all affected.