Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Pearl

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The Pearl

In the book, The Pearl, written by John Steinbeck, Kino is a poor pearl diver who stumbles on the Pearl of the World. Kino hopes the pearl will bring him good fortune, but little does he know the pearl will bring death hardship, and sorrow. His behavior as he copes with the various experiences he has, reveals a great deal about Kino’s character. Kino’s actions throughout the story as a family man, a pearl diver, and a survivor provide keys to this understanding of Kino’s character. Kino is a great family man throughout the whole story. In the beginning of the story as Kino wakes up, the first thing he hears is the sweet Song of the Family. This shows how his family is important to him, and the family is the first thing he thinks about. As a father Kino always provides for his baby son, Coyotito. As great danger arrives, such as the scorpion, Kino smashes it with his foot saving Coyotito. This shows that Kino risks his own well-being for Coyotito. Even though Kino kills the scorpion it still stings Coyotito and causes the baby to become sick. As Kino finds the Pearl of the World, one of the first things Kino wants is to receive help from the doctor to cure Coyotito. In the novel the doctor only cares for the people that can pay him. Kino is also a good husband. Kino always provides for his wife, Juana. Meeting all her needs and caring for her. When Kino finds the pearl, to show his affection for Juana, Kino wants to get officially married in the church with her. At the end of the novel he shows his respect for her by walking side by side with her. Kino is also the protector of the family. When danger arrives he always shields them, risking his life for theirs. For example when the trackers follow Kino, he kills them to save his family. Kino’s whole life is pearl diving. Factors that influence his finding the Pearl of the World is his canoe, how he is taught to dive, and the pearl buyers. One factor that helps Kino is his canoe. His canoe has been passed down for many generations and is Kino’s source of pride. His canoe is a symbol of provision. If he always has possession of the canoe he can guarantee that he can provide for his family. His canoe helps him search for pearls, instead of swimming out to his diving spot? Kino easily rows there. The way Kino learns to pearl dive is the same as any other kid. There aren’t any schools to learn. Just passing down information to other generations. One of the things Kino learns is always look in a special cove, which is a family secret. Within that cove he looks for odd shaped pearls. Also he looks for pearls that are isolated from the others. However, Kino’s real success lay in the hands of the pearl buyers. The pearl buyers only work for one boss, who was very wealthy. The pearl buyers decide how much to pay for pearls. Such as in Kino’s case when he finds his gigantic pearl, the pearl buyers devise a scheme to say that it is fake such as gold to fools gold. The buyers say the pearl has too many scratches and is too big to be real. For added effect one pearl buyer simply said he would not buy the pearl. This forces Kino to sell his pearl elsewhere. Their boss supplies them with a job in order to create a semblance of competition and keep the pearl prices low. The pearl buyer’s main job is to deceive the pearl divers to think that their pearl is less than it actually is. Kino’s ability to outthink and withstand the pearl buyers shows how strong and resistant Kino’s character is. Kino has survived through a lot of things. He is put through more hardships than most. He has had struggles from the beginning and is still going strong. Kino is put through many hardships such as; physical hardships, mental hardships and this leads into to the outcome. He’s had many physical hardships. For example, while Kino was trying to escape the trackers. He finds cave and puts his wife Juana and his baby boy, Coyotito inside, to rest for the night and seek protection from the trackers. Kino then sees the trackers come up on the trail behind them and gives specific orders to Juana to hold Coyotito, and keep at the back of the cave, and to wait silently for Kino to go out and kill the three trackers. Despite Kino’s efforts, Juana and Coyotito edge up to the front of the cave to watch Kino. During the struggle between Kino and the trackers, which Kino wins, a stray shot hits Coyotito in the head and kills him. Kino has to face many mental hardships as well. He has his sense of pride, his canoe smashed. That hurts him and shows his character that he is still just a man and susceptible as others to damage. Finally is the outcome of Kino’s venture. Kino now thinks of Juana as an equal, this is shown by Kino and Juana walking side by side back into town together. Also Kino ends up with a dead baby. This is very sad and difficult for him and he’ll remember Coyotito the rest of his life. Kino also knows me must go back to everyday living, which will constantly bring back painful memories of the past. Finally, he throws the pearl back to its watery grave. Knowing that the only thing he got from it was pain and sorrow, none of the extravagant things he once imagined. This all shows how Kino is strong and tough but also is very sensitive. In conclusion, Kino’s character is revealed many ways wether by being a family man, pearl diver, and a survivor, piece together Kino’s strong will and character. John Steinbeck does a good way of showing Kino’s characteristics by the discovery of the pearl.


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