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“THE PEARL by John Steinbeck.” Written in 1940 and published in 1947, “The Pearl” is another of Steinbeck’s novels, which tells the great American dream. The English he uses, as in most of his books, is fairly simple. The message that he attempts to put through to the reader, which makes this short and effortlessly understandable. Steinbeck’s protagonists comprise of Kino, a young Mexican fisherman, and his poverty-stricken family, consisting of Juana (his wife) and Coyotito (his baby boy). The story begins set in the bare darkness of the interior of Kino’s mud hut, where the family awakens before the dawning of each day to perform their retual of preparing and eating corn cakes-the family’s staple. Their living quarters is situated next to the Gulf of Mexico, where Kino would go out to dive for oysters and catch his family’s next meal. Every single day he dreams of finding the great pearl, whom everybody believes, will make him rich. It is the incident of his son’s illness that puts the fire and sense of urgency in his heart to search for the prized object. The author drawn comparison to the American dream: To gain material wealth, obtain success. Ironically, when Kino does find the Pearl, it is to his great disappointment, too large and virtually worthless. Kino, as a character, is represented by Steinbeck, as the general American public of his day, where innocent victims compromise their moral values. His dream blinds him to greed and suspicions of his neighbors. Even Juana, is unable to temper his obsession and the events leading to tragedy. Kino eventually comes to realize that material wealth is nothing when you vision of good and evil. John Steinbeck was able to write The Pearl in the style of a folktale by keeping it short. By doing that, he made it is easier to keep in the memory, to pass it down to the next generation. Story’s characters are common everyday people. They are not in the upper class, but they are hard working-class laborers, it makes the story closer to people. They are able to relate to the characters and how the characters feel. Also it provides a moral lesson which gives parents a reason to pass it down to their children. Steinbeck himself said that in The Pearl, “...perhaps everyone takes his own meaning from it and reads his own life into it”. That means that it does not matter who hears the story, they will each get something out of it. Steinbeck made it exciting, which appeals to the listener and keeps them focussed on the story and wanting to hear more. By using these simple techniques, Steinbeck achieved his goal in writing a true folktale. In The Pearl, Steinbeck kept referring to songs. These were songs that Kino learned as a boy in the camp that they created for everything they saw, thought or did. There were songs for every aspect of his life: family, evil, the enemy, and eventually the pearl. They represented the good and the evil. But the Song of the Pearl was different. At the start of the story Kino said, “but no new songs were added”. However, the Song of the Pearl was added, and Kino placed in it whatever he could see in the pearl. At the start he saw in the pearl his family and all the things he could buy for them when he sold the pearl. So because of what he saw, the Song of the Pearl became the same as the Song of the Family. But soon the song changed. As Kino began to doubt and became afraid after he could not sell the pearl, the Song of Evil slowly took over and replaced the Song of the Family inside the pearl. Kino could not even see his own nice visions in the pearl, but all he saw was his own death. Evil was brought into the story very early on as the scorpion stung the baby. Good won over again as the swelling diminished with Juana’s love and the seaweed remedy. After Kino found the pearl, evil began to take over. Greed, jealousy, arose in the town as everyone wanted the pearl and it’s money for them selves. Kino and Juana tried to get away from the evil but found that the evil was in the pearl. It had brought out the worst in everyone, even Kino as he struck his wife for trying to throw it away. Evil had won until the ultimate sacrifice was made and Kino and Juana lost their child, the very thing they were trying to protect. Not until the pearl had been thrown away did the evil die down. I believe that the book had the greatest impact on my life. The Pearl changed my thinking about life. It taught me that money is not everything, it is practically nothing. Family is more important that any material possession could ever be. Although it seems odd to say money isn’t everything, it is true. It is true that you cannot live without money, but your life revolves around your money, you might as will not live. No one can truly live with only money. The Pearl taught me to always love my family dearly, also to never let my love for something material be greater than that for my family. Those statements are bold ones that I believe are true about this Novel and real life. If you do not have any love for you family, how can you love anything at all? How could you possibly love something material more that your family? As unconceivable as they sound, they are both very good questions without an answer. The Pearl helped me look at what is really important in life, not money and objects, but people and family.
John Steinbeck. “The Pearl”. “John Steinbeck” 02/14/2000 John Steinbeck
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