The Pearl, By John Steinbeck Essay

The Pearl, By John Steinbeck Essay

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Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness


When a man gets into a cycle of work, food, and family, anything that disrupts this cycle can be detrimental. In the novel, The Pearl, written by John Steinbeck, the Pearl of the World causes this crease in Kino’s cycle. Kino does everything in his willpower to protect the magnificent pearl from harm 's way and to ensure the glamorous future of his family, even though evil and death is concealed around every corner. The Pearl explores the theme of effect of money and greed which is shown through symbolism of the songs and the coin, foreshadowing by the characters, and concern with the future rather than the present.
As an Indian man growing up in poverty with the only worth to his name is a canoe handed down through several generations in the family, immediate wealth is a difficult thing to control. When the Pearl of the World stumbles into Kino and his family’s lives, thinking of the future is all a man can do. Kino dreams within the pearl and says “My son will go to school.” (Steinbeck 33) and “We will have new clothes and my wife and I will marry in the church” (Steinbeck 32). Everything Kino has ever wished upon or prayed for now swarms in his conscious. He fantasizes about the luxury he will be able to provide his family with. All of his hopes can now become a reality because of his new riches. However, a man who puts his future so heavily in money is a dangerous one, for he will do anything and everything to keep the dream alive.
When robbers come during the middle of the night to steal the pearl, Kino does what he feels is necessary to protect his family. But Kino is not truly defending his family in the present, but rather he is preserving their future. Kino’s concern for the future rathe...


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...y a part of Kino’s soul because “Being the firstborn means there is a certain significance and importance to him” (Steinbeck 18). However, when Coyotito is killed by the hunter, this is where Kino loses his soul. Here, he now realizes his son was the thing he needed to keep safe all along. But instead he focuses on the prosperity of the pearl and ends up losing his firstborn.
When money comes along, most people tend to change. Although they don’t usually see it, people around them can speak for their actions. In Kino’s case, his new wealth changed him as a man. Through the symbols of the songs and the coin, and through the foreshadowing by the characters, we see Kino become angered and heavily concerned with the future. He developes into a man with no morals or grasp of reality. Essentially, money and greed overtake Kino, which in the end destroys his entire family.

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