Themes In The Pearl By John Steinbeck

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“It is wonderful the way a little town keeps track of itself and of all its units.” (41) In The Pearl, by John Steinbeck, a poor fisherman named Kino and his family find the pearl of the world and must defend themselves from jealous attackers. They then go on a life changing journey to seek the right payment for their newfound treasure and encounter many obstacles along the way. Through the use of characterization and symbolism, the author demonstrates that greed and obsession lead to downfall. Steinbeck uses the pearl buyers, the aristocrats, and Kino to illustrate this message. To begin with, when the pearl buyers team up to cheat on Kino in order to steal his pearl, they end up with nothing. They are greedy and obsessed with money. They…show more content…
For example, the doctor wants to get rich by the pearl, so he i svery greedy for and obsessed with it. He only treats Coyotito when Kino has the pearl to pay for the treatment, and he poisons Coyotito to gain more money as well. After this, Kino is pressured to get the money from the pearl to pay him for the treatment on time. “Tomorrow I will sell it”, Kino promises, “and then I will pay you.” (35) This builds up a lot of pressure for him to reach the capital and causes Kino to fail reaching the capital. During his journey, Kino envisions all of the terrible things the pearl does to him and his family, and he tells himself he will break the promise made to the doctor. These negative thoughts influence Kino to not reach the capital, and not to sell the pearl, and therefore not to find money to pay him back. Therefore, the doctor does not receive as much pay. the same goes for the other townspeople. The townspeople lay a lot of pressure on Kino and, therefore, lead to his and their…show more content…
This leads to change and, eventually, downfall. Before he finds the pearl, Kino “was a well-liked man” (43), and adored by all of his neighbors. Everyone looked up to his kindness and sympathy, but when he finds the Pearl, he changes. The pearl takes control over him, and he becomes too obsessed with getting his money. He loses his many things over it: “now it is my misfortune and my life and I will keep it” (66). The neighbors even suspect, “‘what a pity it would be if the pearl should destroy them all.’” (43) For example, KIno loses his family when he tries to protect the pearl and defies the pearl buying system, and when he mishandles Juana. Loisng his canoe symbolizes thi sloss of his family. He also loses his sanity. he beats Juana and kills four men. He “‘killed a man’” (61) and joins in many fights. For greed, he turns down the salesman`s offer for the pearl and ends with nothing left. Kino has the chance to take the money offered to him and be done, but he is greedy and he wants more. Then, at the end of the book, Kino throws the pearl into the sea, and with it, all the money he could possibly gain. He also lets the doctor treat Coyotito, even with his doubts, and now can not pay him because the pearl is his payment method, which is now gone. He thinks his money is secure, and in his mind, he is a rich man. This is not necessarily true, as readers learn, and because he was so secure, he must now pay for unnecessary

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