Essay On Kino In The Pearl

The Pearl

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Kino’s lack of material items did not keep him from happiness. That is until he thought it was possible to acquire a greater amount of wealth and increase his happiness through the pearl. In turn, this resulted in the downfall of Kino and his family.
     Kino’s life before the pearl brought him satisfaction and contentment. He was a loving husband and father. “Juana is driven, although instinctively as a woman to heal the family, nevertheless in reality to act for the man to protect the family.” (Karsten 6) He raised and took care of them. Kino loved Coyotito; His son was his pride and joy. He brought together Kino and Juana and made them a family. There is also Juan Tomàs, Kino’s brother, who supported Kino throughout his life. “We do know that we are cheated from birth to the
overcharge on our coffins. But we survive. You have defied not the pearl buyers, but the whole structure, the whole way of life, and I am afraid for you.” (Steinbeck 70)
Kino had few possessions. He had his home, a brush hut, which provided protection and shelter.
In addition, a canoe, this is a family heirloom. It was passed down from grandfather to father to son.
“Kino and Juana came slowly down to the beach and to Kino’s canoe, which was the one thing of value he owned in the world.” (Steinbeck 19)
“It was once property and source of food, for a man with a boat can guarantee a woman that she will eat something.” (Steinbeck 19) Kino also had the song of the family. The song brings a feeling of unity “... the Song of the Family is identified along with other unnamed songs, the heritage of Kino’s people, in the calm beginning of the story... (Karsten 2)
Many changes and alterations were brought about by the pearl. Kino immediately began to make a list of things that he wanted to buy with the pearl’s wealth. He has an opportunity for social mobility and acts upon it. Among the many things on his list were an official marriage, new clothes, a rifle, and education for his son. Instantaneously, Kino’s desires became cloudy. “There was no certainty in seeing, no proof that what you saw was there or was not there.” (Astro 29) Kino then started doubting his dreams and the pearl became misty and cloudy.
Kino’s community thought of him differently because of his sudden acquired wealth.

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Pearl         Kino         Way Of Life         Juana         Loving Husband         Social Mobility         Brush         Calm         Items         Possessions        




Suddenly the town developed an interest in Kino and his pearl. All of the sudden, everyone wanted to know Kino not because of Kino but because of the pearl. “Every man suddenly became related to Kino’s pearl and only one person stood in the way and that was Kino, so that he became curiously every man’s enemy.” (Astro 29) The only obstacle that stood in the way of someone else’s wealth was Kino. If someone wanted the pearl, Kino was the only thing from stopping that desire. The community became greedy themselves and wanted a piece of wealth that he possessed. The richer people showed an interest in Kino and his wealth. Mysteriously the doctor decided to treat Coyotito’s scorpion bite after he found out about Kino’s rare discovery of the pearl. The priest became interested in Kino’s wealth when he thought the money could be used to renovate his church.
Kino was overcome with greed, which changed his and his family’s way of living. He began to take things for granted because he shut out his “old life” only thinking about what the pearl could give him. Juana thought that the pearl was evil and that something was going to happen to the family. Juana attempted to throw the pearl back into the sea. However, Kino strikes Juana for her wrong doing. She realized that the pearl had definitely overcome Kino with greed and evil. “Juana realized the irrevocable change and accepts it to keep the family together...” (Karsten 2)
“This pearl has become my soul... If I give it up I shall lose my soul.” (Astro 30)
Kino, Juana, and Coyotito flee the community because he killed a man in a struggle over the pearl. “The dark ones” burned Kino’s brush hut down. Juan Tomàs and his family provided protection for him and his family until they could flee the area.
Kino was losing many things very close to him due to his insistence on keeping the pearl and pursuing its potential wealth. His hut was burned to the ground, and his canoe was destroyed. “The killing of a man was not so evil as the killing of a boat. For a boat does not have sons, and a boat cannot protect itself, and a wounded boat does not heal.” (Steinbeck 80) Coyotito was killed by one of the trackers. When he was killed, the link between the family was also destroyed.
Due to the evil the pearl brought, Kino decided that enough damage was done. Therefore, he decided to get rid of the pearl. Kino hurled the pearl back into the sea. This gesture symbolized defeat in that the pearl brought so much evil and greed that Kino was defeated by it. It could also mean that he finally overcame his greediness and threw his troubles away back where they came from.



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The Pearl This Essay will discuss the use of symbols in the novel The Pearl by John Steinbeck. In this novel there are many themes explored. These include the destructiveness of greed, how love can give someone great courage and strength, knowledge is power, but a power which can be abused, and how a dream is good until it starts to destroy the things of value in a person’s life. The destructiveness of greed is shown when the doctor comes to Kino’s house and heals Coyotito after Kino has found The Pearl.

When Coyotito had been bitten by the scorpion, his father and mother take Kino to the doctor in order to get a treatment. But the doctor refuses to heal Coyotito because Kino is poor. Later On, after Kino owns the pearl, the doctor automatically comes to Kino’s house and offers a “treatment” for Coyotito. After he “treats” Coyotito, he pretends that he does not know that Kino has found a pearl and asks Kino about the medical expenses. “You have a pearl? A good pearl? The doctor asks with curiosity.

The reality is that the doctor cares more about Kino’s pearl more than giving people treatments. The doctor does this because he values materialistic things more than he cares about others. Although the doctor has a lot of money and he has an abundance of everything he needs and wants in his life, he still wants more and his is dissatisfied. Obviously, the greed had already controlled the doctor’s mind and the way he acts towards people. Another example of the destructiveness of greed is seen in Kino As Kino tried to find a way to gain wealth and status through the pearl.

During this, Kino transforms from a happy, comfortable father to an unhappy criminal. In this quick transition Kino displays the way the ambition of success and greed can destroy innocence. Kino’s desire to gain wealth changes the way we see the pearl. When we first visualize the pearl we see it as a natural beauty and good luck. As the story continues we start seeing it as a symbol of human destruction. Therefore, Kino’s greed leads him to behave violently towards his wife and it also leads to his son’s death.

During his mission he loses sight of his cultural traditions and his society. His dreams start to destroy him. This leads the theme of how a dream is good, until it begins to destroy the things of value in a person’s life. Because Kino believes The Pearl will help him achieve all the dreams he has in store for his son Coyotito Kino does not want to give up the pearl. Juana, who is smart enough to figure out that the pearl is going to cause trouble, asks Kino to throw the pearl away multiple times. And even tries to get rid of it herself. Juana says, “This pearl is evil.

This pearl is like a sin. It will destroy us all! ” Even though Juana warns Kino that the pearl will bring great misfortunes to the family and asks him to throw the pearl away, Kino decides not to listen or take the advice his wife is giving because Kino’s mind is already overtaken by his dreams he wishes of achieving with The Pearl. He is blinded by the dream of: “Juana and Coyotito and himself standing and kneeling at the high alter in the new white clothes holding a Winchester carbine and ‘’Coyotito sitting at a little desk in a school”.

It is now clear to us that he is slowly starting to become greedy and that his selfish thoughts are suddenly starting to control his actions and what he says. After Kino has found “the pearl of the world”, everyone is eager to own it and they all begin to start thinking of their own dreams and what they can achieve if they had a pearl like Kino’s, “Every man suddenly becomes related to Kino, and Kino’s pearl [goes] into the dreams, the schemes… man’s enemy”. And so, the narrator says, “For it is said humans are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more”.

In the scene where people try to steal Kino’s pearl after the pearl is found, they do whatever they can possibly do in order to steal the pearl. Jealousy has grown in the heart of these people and jealousy has turned them into greedy, selfish people. But in the end Kino was only trying to help his family. This relates to the theme of how love can give someone great courage and strength. Kino loves Juana and Coyotito and he wishes to provide them a luxurious and comfortable life style. Through Juana’s character we can see the she was chosen to be shown as an “iron lady” figure.

Being a decent wife and the woman behind his man, Juana chose to remain quiet on their long mission. She shares the joy and sorrow with Kino and Coyotito. When Kino acts offensively towards her, she quietly bears the emotional and physical pain she’s being put through. She pledges her loyalty and faithfulness to Kino and her son Coyotito. Her love for Coyotito gave her courage to suck out the venom from her sons shoulder when he was bitten by the scorpion. When Kino is ready to set off to the ocean, Juana insists in following him because she wants to prepare poultice. The traditional cure made of seaweeds.

Compared to Kino, her idea of family love is far safer than Kino’s ideas of family values. But Kino’s lack of knowledge stops him from being able to provide a luxurious lifestyle for his family. This is linked to the theme of how knowledge is power. Kino believed that if he could afford to give Coyotito an education, Coyotito would move up in social status and he and Juana’s lives would have improved also. “And my son will make numbers and these things will make us free because he will know-he will know and through him we will know,” Because of his simple lifestyle and their lower social status in life Kino felt powerless against the doctor.

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Because of his status Kino could not question the doctor’s procedures or his motives. “Kino felt the rage and hate melting towards fear. He did not know, and perhaps this doctor did. And he could not take the chance of pitting his certain ignorance against this man’s possible knowledge,” Kino knew that if he had a higher social status he wouldn’t have been manipulated. In conclusion there are many symbols in this novel. The symbols are shown through the use of different themes. The symbols help us to realize the main idea of this novel; that materialistic things can change a civilized man.

Author: Brandon Johnson

in The Pearl

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