Analysis Of The Pearl Essay, Research Paper
In “The Pearl,” by John Steinbach, Kino, the poor fisherman, finds a magnificent pearl that changes his life and that of his family. Throughout the novel, the pearl has a wide variety of symbolism that changes progressively. This ever-changing pearl represents hope, healing, jealousy, Kino’s manhood, and destruction and death. At the beginning of the novel, the pearl symbolizes hope. Kino, Juana, his wife, and their son, Coyotito, live in the outskirts of La Paz. They are in hopeless poverty, but have good hearts. Living in a wretched hut outside the walled city, this family tries to make the best of things with the lack of education. When they find the pearl, their whole life changes. The whole town finds out about the pearl. Kino’s family receives hope for the future with the help of the lustrous pearl. The narrator states the different varieties of hope that the pearl could bring, And the beauty of the pearl, winking and glimmering in the light of the little candle, cozened his brain with its beauty. So lovely it was, so soft, and its own music came from it – its music of promise and delight, its guarantee of the future, of comfort, of security. Its warm lucence promised a poultice against illness and a wall against insult. It closed a door of hunger. This pearl of the world is a symbol of anything with a promising thought. Hope is a word with many different meanings. Kino and Juana’s meaning for hope of the future is their freedom. Freedom from oppression and poverty is what they hope can be achieved by the great pearl. The many feelings of being lower than everybody else and having to deal with the state of living in poverty washes out of Kino’s head when he finds the pearl. Many other hopes fill Kino’s head when he finds the pearl. A marriage between Kino and Juana is brought to his mind. Since, they have ragged clothes, they decide to get new clothes. Kino and Juana have no education, so they decide to have Coyotito go to school. He could be educated very well and could teach Kino and Juana what he will learn. The last two things that comes in Kino’s mind are a rifle and a new harpoon for material reasons. Hope is the key word for what the pearl represents at the beginning of the novel. The pearl also represents a time for healing. This symbolism of the pearl is not just healing, but even a magical healing. For example, Coyotito gets stung by a scorpion before they find the pearl. Coyotito needs help or he might die. Kino and Juana take Coyotito to the doctor, but the doctor refuses. The doctor does this because they are considered to be poor indians. They find the magnificent pearl later on that day. This begins the act of healing. Juana, an expert of motherhood, places a piece of poultice of seaweed on Coyotito’s bite hoping the swelling will go down. Surely, the swelling went down. Her remedy is working. Juana does not know that her remedy is working. There fore, she still wants the doctor to treat Coyotito. This pearl represents healing because of Juana wanting to take Coyotito to the doctor to be treated and for Juana’s remedy to actually treat Coyotito’s poisonous bite. Another symbolism of the pearl is greed and jealously. The word about the pearl spreads throughout the town very quickly. This pearl is the pearl of the world and could cost a fortune. Everyone begins to envy Kino and Juana because of their good fortune. The townspeople become very sneaky and cunning. They will do whatever it takes to capture this pearl of the world. For example, the town’s priest came to visit Kino’s family. He slyly suggests how the church needs money and how it is one of the major functions of the town. Another example is the doctor. The doctor finds out about the pearl and decides to stop at Kino’s hut. The doctor cunningly says he is going to treat the baby. Coyotito is already well, but only the doctor knows that. The doctor poisons Coyotito to make it look like he is saving the baby. Kino and Juana are suspicious, but they let the doctor do his deed. The doctor lies about the symptoms, but Juana and Kino allow him to proceed because of their lack of education. The merchants and beggars are also jealous over the pearl. These people overwhelmed with jealousy and greed spy on Kino’s family to see where they hide the pearl. If that does not work, they try to rob and/ or kill Kino for the pearl. This tends to happen at night. The pearl buyers are also jealous and greedy. When Kino, Juana, and Coyotito go to town to sell the pearl, the pearl buyers set up a strategy. Kino walks up to one of the pearl buyers, not knowing that they all are working together, and asks the pearl buyer how much he would buy it for. The pearl buyer says it is not as great as it seems. Kino becomes angry because he knows the pearl is worth a lot. The two other pearl buyers arrive at the office and say the same thing. The pearl buyers work together to try to manipulate Kino into selling the pearl for a low price rate. Kino has now became every man’s enemy. Greed and jealously came into everyone’s heads when the pearl of the world came in Kino’s hands.
From greed and jealously, the pearl changes to another symbolism to Kino’s manhood. This most luxurious pearl was once his hope, and now it is his obsession. For instance, Kino becomes attached to this pearl. The pearl is destroying their lives. Juana realizes this and wants to throw it back into the sea. When Kino hears what Juana wants, he becomes angry and refuses. He believes that since he is a man, he should stay with the pearl like a man. Since he is a man, he thinks that his good fortune should not be taken from him. The pearl becomes his soul and his sense of being a man. The pearl takes over his body completely and now he will do whatever it takes to keep his pearl in his hands. Every violent action that appeared to them began to slip away from Kino’s mind and slowly the pearl’s hopes and dreams of the future just kept building up in Kino’s head. Therefore, the pearl becomes Kino’s soul or manhood. Lastly, the pearl represents a tragic and concluding symbolism of destruction and death. Destruction and death appears to Kino, Juana, and Coyotito when everyone finds out about the pearl. An example of death and destruction is when Kino is attacked in his hut one night. Kino is attacked by someone at night. Kino knows the person is after the pearl. As a result, Kino kills the man. Attackers began to break out and the destruction of his hut, canoe, and especially freedom came as a result. Kino, Juana, and Coyotito had no escape route. Another example of the death symbolism, came with a tragic conclusion. The death of Coyotito is what is brought. They leave the town and hide until dark. People are out to kill them for the pearl, so they are very cautious. Later on that night, they see trackers. Before sunrise, Kino spies on them before he attacks them. He courageously forces his way to the trackers and kills them. He hears a gunshot and Juana screaming, Coyotito is dead by a gunshot through the head. One of the trackers thought it was a Coyote. This tragic event leads to the destruction of the pearl. In conclusion, the pearl is a symbol for hope, healing, jealously, Kino’s manhood, and destruction and death. Kino’s life as well as the life of his family changes by one magnificent pearl in the novel “The Pearl” by John Steinbach. Kino, when he initially finds the pearl, thinks that life of him and his family will change for the better, because he and his family have never been in contact with anything so beautiful. They never had anything so valuable. He soon realizes what he had before he found the pearl. All he really needs is what he already has, and that is his family.