The Pearl by John Steinbeck

The Pearl by John Steinbeck

                Kino is a diver looking for pearls. Pearl diving is how he provides for his family, just like his father before him and his father’s father. He lives in a brush house away from the town with his wife Juana and their son Coyotito. When Coyotito is bitten by a scorpion Juana prays for a way for them to pay the doctor to heal their only child.  When Kino dives that day he finds a pearl the size of a sea gull’s egg. The people in the brush houses refer to it as the “Pearl of the World” and can only imagine the fortune that will come to Kino and his family. But the pearl doesn’t bring the fortune Kino had hoped. It brings greed, suspicion and betrayal.
                Based on a Mexican folk tale The Pearl is simple and precise in its delivery. In less than one hundred pages Steinbeck produces a novel that highlights many different aspects of human nature, examining each briefly and thoroughly. He questioned the faith of Kino and his wife while faced with the unimaginable fear of losing their child. Steinbeck exposed the motivations of those in the town who tried desperately to hide their greed. He highlighted how comradery can change based on circumstances when detailing the relationship between those that lived in the brush houses. Steinbeck dissected a small society to see how change ripples through a community and how each ripple affects everyone.

                John Steinbeck’s The Pearl was amazing. All that glitters isn’t gold and sometimes the life you imagine because of miraculous luck can destroy you. So that’s slightly dramatic but it’s also partly true. Kino was such a genuine character whose struggles were real and from the beginning I felt his pain and was rooting for him to make it through while many of the characters worked tirelessly to retrieve the pearl for their own gain. I cannot stress how simple this story is, how much emotion it entails and how much I thoroughly enjoyed it. I give it 5 out of 5 stars. It is short, to the point, and will have you questioning your moral compass and hopefully correcting it. 


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