The Pearl By John Steinbeck Essay

The Pearl By John Steinbeck Essay

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“Juana, in her woman’s soul, knew that the mountain would stand while the man broke himself; the sea would surge while the man drowned in it” (60-61). The Pearl by John Steinbeck tells a story of a woman, Juana, and a man, Kino, finding ‘the Pearl of the World.’ In this pearl, the couple has hope for their only child, Coyotito, to acquire aid from the doctor to heal the baby’s deathly scorpion bite. However, Kino sees more in the pearl and becomes obsessed with its golden opportunities it can provide for his family, despite the danger it brings. Juana plays a key role not only as the typical titles a mother and wife would perform, but also as a person with a leveled mind shielded from the greed of the pearl. In The Pearl, women are typically seen as inferior to men because they assume the role of the selfless caregiver and the obedient wife; however Juana challenges her lack of authority as a wife by being a the voice of reason to her husband Kino, which leads to their eventual equality as partners.
Similar to other women in The Pearl, Juana accepts the role of the caregiver. She takes care of Coyotito as well as Kino and automatically puts their well-being before hers. Her impulses are exhibited throughout the novella; for example, when Kino found the great pearl “instinctively Juana went to Coyotito . . . and looked at his shoulder” (20). She right away thought of her child’s health by checking on the scorpion sting. She could have examined the pearl and thought of all the ways the wealth from the pearl could benefit her, but instead she immediately thought of her child’s needs. Also, Juana displays her nurturing character when Kino and she vanish to the mountains to escape the trackers. “[Juana] raised her bottle of water t...


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...it also caused Juana and Kino to become equals. Once the baby was shot did Kino finally listen to Juana and throw the pearl in the sea. One may assume that Juana has authority over Kino by the end, but in reality, Kino sees Juana as more of an equal. This equality is evident because Juana and Kino “were not walking in a single file . . . as usual, but side by side” (88 Juana challenges her lack of authority and gains equality doing so.
Traditionally, women only acquire the role of the unselfish nurturer and compliant wife, but Juana opens her confined stance by becoming the voice of reason. By using her reasoning to gain authority in Kino’s actions, she becomes an equal partner to her husband despite their son’s death. The great pearl may have sucked her husband into an ambitious and greedy state of mind, but her ‘woman soul’ pulled Kino out of the ‘surging sea.’

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