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 want to cheat Kino for the pearl and its money although they know it is worth more than they claim. They think Kino is too ignorant to realize he is being cheated. They really were working together, they were “only one pearl buyer with many hands” (42), and knew “how high they would bid, and what method each one would use.” (42) They try to trick Kino into believing they are all separate by offering different prices and not telling each other their price in front of Kino, but he realizes he is being cheated and storms out: “Kino 's face grew dark and dangerous. ‘It is worth fifty thousand,’ he said. ‘You know it. You want to cheat me’” (50). The dealers know they have lost the pearl the minute Kino speaks out, a mistake on both Kino and the shopkeeper`s side. The dealers know they should not have been as greedy and they “glanced quickly at each other. They knew they had played too hard; they knew they would be disciplined for failure, and the man at the desk said quickly, ‘I might go to fiftee... ... middle of paper ... ... man. Also, Coyotito symbolizes Kino 's family and heritage, that is ‘shot’ when he finds the pearl. Steinbeck also uses characterization to convey that greed leads to downfall. For example, Kino was a good man before he found the pearl, but after he finds it, it is very clear to readers Kino has changed his ways and become a different man. Greed causes many terrible things to happen in the real world as well, such as stealing essential day to day items like a lunch or a special pen. Greed also can cause people relied on not to perform their best, such as if something is taken for greed that they need to help you. If one student is greedy and takes a second student`s pen, later it may get back at the first student if he needs help with a group project but does the second student does not have a pen. Simple actions like this pen can get back at any person very quickly.

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