Thursday, October 10, 2019

An Analysis of The Pearl by John Steinbeck Essay

One of the main themes of the novel, The Pearl, which was written by John Steinbeck, is the destructive force of greed. The author presented this concept in a variety of ways in the story such as the use parallelism of the imagery to the characters in the novel, the setting of the story that justifies the characters’ actions, and the sudden transformation of the characters.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Basically, the story takes place in depressed Mexican-Indian community in La Paz where the novel’s two main characters, Kino, a poor pearl diver, and his wife, Juana, live in. While the story revolves mainly around the life of the couple, particularly, Keno, the author used them to symbolize the impoverished state of the community in which they live in. The story begins with Coyotito being stung by a poisonous scorpion. When Kino and Juana were unable to treat their son, who was shown to be in extreme pain, they took him to a doctor. However, the doctor, upon learning that the couple did not have any money, turns them away and pretended to be unavailable at the moment.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   In this part of the story, Steinbeck already showed how greed played an important role in adversely affecting the lives of Kino and Juana through momentarily shifting the focus of characterization. The doctor, who is bound by an oath that compels him to help all those who are sick, regardless of their economic status, refused to treat the couple’s son because he was greedy and did not want to treat them unless he gets paid with money. The doctor also symbolized the obstacles and oppression that Kino faces in their impoverished community, which was, in a way, used to justify his greedy actions later on in the novel. Moreover, the use of nature’s imagery in the first chapter of the novel generally mirrored Kino’s personality. In the opening chapter 1, Kino deeply observes the beauty of the garden of his home, which reflects the innocence he only had at the beginning of the novel.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   After the couple was turned down by the doctor, Kino became desperate but fortunately found a very large and rare pearl in one of his dives. The author used this part of the story as a turning point in Kino’s personality. This part of the story also depicted the greed of the other minor characters of the novel such as the priest of La Paz, who agreed to help Kino only after he discovered that he had the pearl, and the doctor, who changed his mind and helped Kino only after he found out that the fisherman was in possession of a rare pearl.   Moreover, although Kino’s intentions were primarily to buy a cure for his son by selling the pearl, he was blinded by his greed as shown in his desire to sell the pearl only to the highest bidder. Days after he found the pearl, his entire family experienced a lot of misfortunes. Several men attempted to steal the pearl from him and although they were unsuccessful, this led to Kino committing acts he normally did not do such as violence and murder. In addition, Kino’s attitude towards his family suddenly changed which was illustrated when he beat up his wife Juana after she insisted that they get rid of the pearl for fear of the misfortune it will bring them in the future. Even after their house was burned down, Kino still insisted on keeping the pearl and escaped to a nearby the mountain with his family since they believed he will be hunted by the authorities after he killed one of the men of attempted to steal his prized possession. They then discover that they were being pursued by three men and when Kino tried to surprise them, they kill his son, Coyotito. He responded by killing all of them and the next day the story ended with Kino returning to La Paz where he throws the pearl to the sea for good. The events at the mountain were another form of nature imagery used by the author. This time, Steinbeck used the mountain to reflect life’s darker side which is characterized struggles and hardships. In this case, however, it was still Kino’s greed that led to these events. Overall, Steinbeck clearly expresses that man’s desire for excessive property and riches would eventually lead to destruction as portrayed by Kino who lost his son, his house, and his innocence in his greedy desire to sell the pearl and amass wealth. References Steinbeck, J. (2002). The Pearl (Centennial Edition). New York: Penguin

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