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THE PEARL 
THE JOHN STEINBECK 
PEARL 
JOHN STEINBECK 
Dr. Mohammed Fahmy 
Raiyah
John Steinbeck 
(1902 – 1968)
AUTHOR 
 John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California in 
1902. 
 His novels deal with the social and economic 
proble...
SUMMARY
Kino is a young Mexican-Indian pearl diver 
married to Juana; they have a baby named 
Coyotito. Kino, Juana, and their son...
Juana, carrying Coyotito and followed by 
Kino and the neighbors, goes to the town in a 
large procession. At the doctor's...
Later that same morning, Kino and Juana 
take their family canoe out to the sea to go 
diving for pearls. Juana makes a po...
Before Kino reaches home with his great 
pearl, the news of his discovery has already 
reached his village and the town. E...
The doctor arrives, explaining that he was 
out in the morning but has come now to cure 
Coyotito. He administers a powder...
At bedtime, Kino hides the pearl under his mat 
on the earthen floor. His dreams of Coyotito's 
reading great books, howev...
On the morning that Kino is to sell the pearl, 
the other divers do not go out to dive; this is to be 
a special day in th...
Juan Tomás, Kino’s brother, walks beside Kino 
and reminds him of the old story of how years ago 
the "old ones" thought o...
The news of Kino's arrival in town has already 
reached the pearl buyers, along with reports on the 
loveliness of the pea...
When the other three pearl buyers arrive, they carry 
through with their pre-arranged, assigned roles. The first 
two deal...
That night Kino hears some noises outside. He 
takes his knife and goes to investigate. Inside, 
Juana hears the noises of...
Everything evil that happens to Kino is directly 
related to the Pearl of the World, and Juana knows 
this. She silently r...
As Kino makes his way up the beach, a group of men 
attack him. As Kino drives his knife into one of his 
attackers, the m...
Kino returns to the beach to ready his canoe for the escape. 
He finds that someone has punched a large hole in the boat’s...
Kino explains that he killed a man after being attacked 
in the darkness. Juan Tomás blames this misfortune on the 
pearl ...
Kino, Juana, and Coyotito begin their long 
march north, They walk all night and make camp 
in a roadside shelter at sunri...
As Juana plays with Coyotito, Kino wakes from a 
dream and demands that they keep quiet. Creeping 
forward, he spots three...
Kino and Juana collect their belongings and flee 
with Coyotito through the bushes, making no effort to 
conceal their tra...
By evening, the trackers arrive at the pool, where they 
make camp and eat. In the cave, Coyotito grows restless, 
and Jua...
Later the next day, toward sunset, Kino and Juana 
walk side by side into La Paz, with Juana carrying 
Coyotito’s corpse i...
PLOT 
• Kino, Juana, and their son Coyotito live in a modest house by 
the sea. 
• A scorpion stings the baby. Juana tells...
• Juana believes that the pearl is the source of all bad things that 
is happening to them and takes it to throw it in the...
Rising action 
Exposition 
Falling action 
Resolution 
The climax
SETTING 
The story takes place mainly in a small village 
in Mexico. 
The time is the nineteenth or early twentieth 
centu...
POINT OF VIEW 
Third person narrator
CHARACTERS 
KINO 
Kino is the story’s protagonist. He is a simple poor pearl 
diver. He is close to nature and lives in ha...
Juana 
Juana is Kino’s loving and obedient wife. She 
represents the typical submissive wife who takes 
care of her husban...
Juana is a brave woman who decides to stay 
with her husband in time of danger. When her 
husband is attacked several time...
Juana is a rebel. In the face of Kino’s reluctance, 
Juana insists on fetching the white doctor to tend 
Coyotito. Her dec...
Juana changes by suffering. At the end of 
the novel, Juana walks beside Kino as an equal. 
She becomes stronger and less ...
The Doctor 
The doctor is an important character because he 
represents the white people who oppress and 
exploit Kino’s p...
THEMES 
Greed 
As Kino seeks to gain wealth through the 
pearl, he transforms from a happy, 
contented husband and father ...
Racism 
The doctor, the pearl buyers, and the priest are not 
the same race as Kino and the villagers. They treat 
the poo...
SYMBOLISM 
The Pearl 
The pearl itself is the most important symbol in the novel. 
The pearl’s meaning changes at differen...
destruction, which was clear for Juana before Kino 
came to believe her, only after the final 
catastrophe happens to them...
The Canoe 
The canoe is a symbol of tradition. Kino’s canoe is 
a family heritage, he got it from his father and his 
fath...
The pearl
The pearl
The pearl
The pearl
The pearl
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Summary and analysis of Steinbeck's The Pearl

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The pearl

  1. 1. THE PEARL THE JOHN STEINBECK PEARL JOHN STEINBECK Dr. Mohammed Fahmy Raiyah
  2. 2. John Steinbeck (1902 – 1968)
  3. 3. AUTHOR  John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California in 1902.  His novels deal with the social and economic problems of rural workers.  His best novels include Tortilla Flat, Of Mice and Men, and The Grapes of Wrath.  He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1962.
  4. 4. SUMMARY
  5. 5. Kino is a young Mexican-Indian pearl diver married to Juana; they have a baby named Coyotito. Kino, Juana, and their son live in a modest house by the sea. One morning, a scorpion stings Coyotito. Because they know that the doctor will not come to such a poor home, Juana tells Kino to take the child to the doctor. Kino and Juana rush him to the doctor in town. scorpion
  6. 6. Juana, carrying Coyotito and followed by Kino and the neighbors, goes to the town in a large procession. At the doctor's house, the doctor's servant tells Kino and Juana that the doctor is not at home — in truth, the doctor is home but will not help them because they are poor natives who cannot pay enough and also because the doctor is prejudiced against Kino's race.
  7. 7. Later that same morning, Kino and Juana take their family canoe out to the sea to go diving for pearls. Juana makes a poultice for Coyotito’s wound, while Kino searches the sea bottom. Juana’s prayers for a large pearl are answered when Kino surfaces with the largest pearl either of them has ever seen. canoe
  8. 8. Before Kino reaches home with his great pearl, the news of his discovery has already reached his village and the town. Everyone fantasizes what he or she would do with the wealth that the pearl represents, including the doctor, who previously refused to help Coyotito but now says that the baby is a patient of his. The priest arrives at Kino and Juana's hut and tells Kino that he needs to give thanks for finding the pearl.
  9. 9. The doctor arrives, explaining that he was out in the morning but has come now to cure Coyotito. He administers a powdered capsule and promises to return in an hour. In fact what the doctor has done is to make Coyotito sick so that the doctor can then cure the baby and get paid more. Coyotito indeed does get sick, and the doctor returns and gives the baby a different medicine that "cures" the baby. When the doctor asks Kino for payment, Kino says that his plan is to sell the pearl the next day. The doctor offers to keep the pearl for Kino, and Kino refuses the request, but the doctor tricks Kino into revealing where Kino has hidden the pearl.
  10. 10. At bedtime, Kino hides the pearl under his mat on the earthen floor. His dreams of Coyotito's reading great books, however, are suddenly interrupted by the presence of someone else in the hut. Pulling his knife, Kino strikes out at the figure, hurting him. At the same time he himself is struck on the head. Juana lights their only candle and swabs the blood from Kino's head. Juana then senses the evil of the pearl, and she pleads, "This pearl is like a sin! It will destroy us. . . . Let us throw it back into the sea . . ." Kino, however, is determined that their son will become educated, and he refuses to listen to Juana's pleas that the pearl will destroy them all — "even our son."
  11. 11. On the morning that Kino is to sell the pearl, the other divers do not go out to dive; this is to be a special day in the life of the town. Kino and Juana dress themselves and Coyotito in their best clothes and begin the trip to the pearl buyers, followed by all of the rest of the village. Here, we have the second of several processional scenes. Yesterday, they walked in the same procession to see the doctor, and they were turned away. Today, they go in a triumphant mood, fully aware of the treasure they have that will bring them wealth and respect.
  12. 12. Juan Tomás, Kino’s brother, walks beside Kino and reminds him of the old story of how years ago the "old ones" thought of a way to outwit the pearl buyers by sending one of their own to the large town to sell their collected pearls. The first man failed to return; they sent another with their collected pearls and he too failed to return. They then abandoned the idea and returned to selling their pearls to the pearl buyers. Kino, of course, has heard the story already; the priest, the Father, tells it every year. According to the priest, the failure was "a punishment on those who tried to leave their station." The priest made it clear that God intends the peons to remain in their stations in life, and if someone tries to rise above their station, it is an invitation for disaster.
  13. 13. The news of Kino's arrival in town has already reached the pearl buyers, along with reports on the loveliness of the pearl. When Kino arrives with the pearl, his neighbors wait just within hearing distance, outside the office. The pearl buyer looks casually at the pearl and shows no expression on his face, yet his hands, hidden behind him, are trembling. Then the buyer offers a very small sum, a thousand pesos, for the Pearl of the World. He maintains that the pearl is too big and no one will buy it. Kino knows that he is being cheated; meanwhile, the pearl buyer sends for the other buyers to confirm his offer. While they are waiting for the other buyers, the neighbors discuss the offer. They are puzzled; in contrast, the pearl buyer cannot keep his eyes off the pearl.
  14. 14. When the other three pearl buyers arrive, they carry through with their pre-arranged, assigned roles. The first two dealers reject the pearl as a mere oddity, and the third dealer makes a feeble offer of five hundred pesos. Kino announces that he will go to the capital and sell the pearl. Quickly, the main pearl buyer raises his offer to fifteen hundred pesos, but it is too late; Kino leaves. Back in their brush houses, the neighbors discuss the events. They are divided in their opinions: some feel that Kino is being cheated; some feel that he is going against the system, and some think that he is foolish because fifteen hundred pesos is more money than he has ever had. Kino, however, feels alienated from everything: according to Steinbeck, Kino "has lost one world and had not gained another."
  15. 15. That night Kino hears some noises outside. He takes his knife and goes to investigate. Inside, Juana hears the noises of a violent struggle, and she takes a stone and goes to Kino's aid, but it is too late. Kino is lying on the ground, bloody, with most of his clothes half-torn off him. His assailants have escaped, and Kino cannot identify them. Again, Juana pleads with Kino to destroy the pearl — it is wicked. But Kino still sees the pearl as the only means of insuring Coyotito's education, and so he resolves to go to the capital to sell the pearl.
  16. 16. Everything evil that happens to Kino is directly related to the Pearl of the World, and Juana knows this. She silently rises from her sleep, goes quietly to the fireplace stone and removes the great pearl. Then, she disappears through the doorway. A rage surges in Kino, and he catches up with her at the beach just at the moment that her hand is raised to throw the pearl back into the Gulf. Kino strikes her. Already, there is a major change occurring within Kino; he is becoming more and more like an animal — even in his treatment of Juana who, because of her upbringing, accepts such treatment. She knows that there is murder in the heart of her husband, and she accepts it without understanding it.
  17. 17. As Kino makes his way up the beach, a group of men attack him. As Kino drives his knife into one of his attackers, the men knock the pearl from his grasp. Meanwhile, some distance away from the fight, Juana gets up on her knees and begins to make her way home. She sees the pearl lying in the path. She picks it up and considers returning to the sea to discard the pearl once and for all. At this moment, Juana sees two dark figures lying in the road and recognizes one of them as Kino. Juana realizes that Kino has killed a man. Juana helps Kino, who moans about losing his pearl. Juana silences him by showing him the pearl and explains that they must flee immediately because Kino has committed a horrible crime. Kino protests that he acted in self-defense, but Juana argues that his defense won’t matter at all to the authorities. Kino realizes that Juana is right, and they resolve to flee.
  18. 18. Kino returns to the beach to ready his canoe for the escape. He finds that someone has punched a large hole in the boat’s bottom. Filled with sorrow and rage, he quickly runs to his house, moments before dawn. As he arrives in the vicinity of the neighborhood, he notices flames and realizes that his house is burning. As he runs toward the fire, Juana meets him with Coyotito in her arms. She confirms that their house has been burned down completely. As the neighbors rush to control the fire and to save their own houses, Kino, Juana, and Coyotito go to Juan Tomás’s house. In the darkness inside Juan Tomás’s house, Kino and Juana listen as the neighbors attempt to subdue the fire and speculate that Kino and Juana have been killed in the blaze. The couple can only listen as Juan Tomás’s wife, Apolonia, wails in mourning for the loss of her relatives. When Apolonia returns to her house to change head shawls, Kino whispers to her, explaining that they are taking refuge. Kino instructs Apolonia to bring Juan Tomás to them and to keep their whereabouts a secret. She complies, and Juan Tomás arrives moments later, posting Apolonia at the door to keep watch while he talks with Kino.
  19. 19. Kino explains that he killed a man after being attacked in the darkness. Juan Tomás blames this misfortune on the pearl and advises Kino to sell it without delay. Kino implores Juan Tomás to hide them in his house for a night, until they can gather themselves and make a second attempt to flee. Juan Tomás agrees to shelter them and keep silent about their plans. That afternoon, Kino and Juana listen to the neighbors discuss them among the ashes outside. Most of the neighbors assume that Kino and Juana are dead, but Juan Tomás suggests that perhaps the family has fled to the south to escape persecution. Kino tells Juan Tomás his plan to travel to the cities of the north. Juan Tomás advises him to avoid the coast, as a search party will be on the lookout for him. When Juan Tomás asks if Kino still has the pearl, Kino responds that he does and that he intends to hold on to it.
  20. 20. Kino, Juana, and Coyotito begin their long march north, They walk all night and make camp in a roadside shelter at sunrise. Juana begins to doubt Kino’s conviction that the pearl is worth far more than the dealers offered, but Kino points out that his attackers would not have tried to steal the pearl were it worth nothing. Kino stares at the pearl to read his future. He lies to Juana, telling her that he sees a rifle, a marriage in a church, and an education for Coyotito. In truth Kino sees a body bleeding on the ground, Juana making her way home through the night after being beaten, and Coyotito’s face swollen as though he were sick.
  21. 21. As Juana plays with Coyotito, Kino wakes from a dream and demands that they keep quiet. Creeping forward, he spots three trackers following their trail. Kino attempts to be still and silent until the trackers have passed. He watches them grow nearer and prepares to spring on them with his knife if necessary. Juana also hears the approaching trackers and does her best to quiet Coyotito. The trackers’ horse grows excited as the trackers approach the shelter. The trackers then move on. Kino realizes that it is only a matter of time before they return, and he runs quickly to Juana, telling her to gather up her things so that they can leave at once. He suggests that they might be able to lose the trackers up in the mountains.
  22. 22. Kino and Juana collect their belongings and flee with Coyotito through the bushes, making no effort to conceal their tracks. As they climb the first rises, Kino realizes that the distance he is putting between his family and the trackers offers only a temporary fix to their problem. When Juana takes a rest with Coyotito, Kino proposes that she hide while he moves on ahead. Until the trackers have been diverted, she can take refuge in a nearby town. But, despite Kino’s insistence, Juana refuses to split up, so the family moves on together. As the sun begins to set, Kino and Juana reach a nearby cleft at a pool and stream, where they drink. From the lookout, Kino spies the trackers at a distance below, hurrying up the slope. Juana also realizes that they are still being followed.
  23. 23. By evening, the trackers arrive at the pool, where they make camp and eat. In the cave, Coyotito grows restless, and Juana quiets him. Kino notices that two of the men have settled in to sleep, while the third keeps watch. Kino realizes that if he can manage to stifle the lookout, he, Juana, and Coyotito will have a chance to escape. Juana fears for Kino’s life, but Kino explains that they have no other choice. As Juana prays for him, Kino slowly moves down the slope toward the pool. He prepares to attack. Just as he is poised to spring, the moon appears, and he realizes that his opportunity has been lost. Suddenly, Coyotito lets out a cry that wakes one of the sleeping trackers. The watchman shoots in the direction of the cry. The bullet kills Coyotito. Kino springs upon the trackers, stabbing the watchman and seizing the rifle to kill the other two. Then he hears his wife’s cry, mourning the death of Coyotito.
  24. 24. Later the next day, toward sunset, Kino and Juana walk side by side into La Paz, with Juana carrying Coyotito’s corpse in a sack over her shoulder. They walk through the city, with unmoving eyes, speaking to no one. Onlookers stare wordlessly, and even Juan Tomás can only raise a hand in greeting. Kino and Juana march through the town, past the brush houses, all the way to the sea. At the edge of the water, Kino stops and pulls the pearl from his pocket. Holding it up to the light, he stares into it carefully, and a flood of evil memories washes over him. Kino holds the pearl out in front of him, and then flings it out into the ocean. Kino and Juana watch the pearl as it splashes the surface, and stare at the spot quietly as the sun sets.
  25. 25. PLOT • Kino, Juana, and their son Coyotito live in a modest house by the sea. • A scorpion stings the baby. Juana tells Kino to take the child to the doctor. • Kino and Juana rush him to the doctor in town, but the doctor does not meet them. • Kino finds a pearl that is as large as a seagull’s egg. • The priest and the doctor visit Kino. • Kino decides to sell the pearl to educate his son. • Kino is attacked by strangers. • Kino goes to the town to sell the pearl. • Kino fails in selling the pearl because the buyers offer a very low price.
  26. 26. • Juana believes that the pearl is the source of all bad things that is happening to them and takes it to throw it in the sea. • Kino strikes Juana and takes the pearl. • In his way back to his house, he is attacked again and he kills a man. • Kino’s canoe is destroyed and his house burned. • Kino, Juana and Coyotito hide in Juan Tomás’s house before they set out for the capital. • Kino discovers that three trackers are following them. • Kino attacks the trackers and kills them, but one of them shoots when coyotito cries and kills him. • The next day, Kino and Juana make their way back through town. Juana carries her dead son over her shoulder. They walk all the way to the sea. At the shore, Kino pulls the pearl out of his clothing and with all his might flings it back into the sea.
  27. 27. Rising action Exposition Falling action Resolution The climax
  28. 28. SETTING The story takes place mainly in a small village in Mexico. The time is the nineteenth or early twentieth century
  29. 29. POINT OF VIEW Third person narrator
  30. 30. CHARACTERS KINO Kino is the story’s protagonist. He is a simple poor pearl diver. He is close to nature and lives in harmony with it. He loves his family, his village, and his people. At the beginning, Kino is content with his life. Before he discovers the pearl, his simple life is rich with the values of love and loyalty. After he finds the pearl, Kino begins to desire material wealth and his character gradually declines from a state of innocence to a state of corruption. He gets into conflict with the corrupt world of the doctor, the priest, and the pearl buyers. The pearl changes his life as it changes his character. Kino’s character is enlarged as a result of the discovery of the world of evil and greed.
  31. 31. Juana Juana is Kino’s loving and obedient wife. She represents the typical submissive wife who takes care of her husband and son. She accepts the traditional role of woman as man’s helpmate. Juana refuses to leave her husband even after he killed a man and their house was burned. She stays with Kino out of loyalty and love after he beats her for trying to throw away the pearl. She also refuses to leave Kino when they are running away from the followers who tried to find and kill him.
  32. 32. Juana is a brave woman who decides to stay with her husband in time of danger. When her husband is attacked several times, Juana never shows fear. Juana is resourceful and has the presence of mind that makes her jump to her son’s help when he is stung by the scorpion. Whereas her husband remains confounded and unable to act, she is quick to suck the poison from Coyotito’s shoulder. Juana then uses a poultice of seaweed to treat him.
  33. 33. Juana is a rebel. In the face of Kino’s reluctance, Juana insists on fetching the white doctor to tend Coyotito. Her decision to go to the doctor is so subversive that all the villagers follow the young couple and son to see how the doctor will receive them. She differs with Kino with regard to the pearl. Whereas Kino sees it as a means of changing the family’s fortunes, Juana sees it as a source of evil and wants to get rid of it. In spite of her devotion to her husband, she rebels against his authority when she attempts to throw the pearl back into the sea to save her family. At the end, when Kino gives her the pearl to throw into the sea, she hands it to him, in admission of his manhood and personal dignity.
  34. 34. Juana changes by suffering. At the end of the novel, Juana walks beside Kino as an equal. She becomes stronger and less submissive. The shared experience of suffering has made the couple closer and equal.
  35. 35. The Doctor The doctor is an important character because he represents the white people who oppress and exploit Kino’s people, the native Mexicans. He hates Kino’s people because they are of a different race. He refuses to meet Kino to treat his baby because he knows that they don’t have enough money. When he knows about Kino’s pearl, he visits him to claim the baby as his patient.
  36. 36. THEMES Greed As Kino seeks to gain wealth through the pearl, he transforms from a happy, contented husband and father to a savage criminal. He beats his wife because she wants to get rid of the pearl to save the family, and he even kills a man, in defense of the pearl. Furthermore, Kino’s greed leads to his son’s death. Greed is the main characteristic of other characters in the novella especially the doctor, the priest, and the pearl buyers.
  37. 37. Racism The doctor, the pearl buyers, and the priest are not the same race as Kino and the villagers. They treat the poor villagers as inferior and take advantage of them. The villagers ‘ lack of education also makes the villagers vulnerable to exploitation. The doctor refuses to meet Kino and his family because they are poor and because he hates their race. The priest uses religion to try to convince the villagers not to try to change their position in life because this would be against God’s will. The pearl buyers cheat the villagers and offer them very little money for their pearls.
  38. 38. SYMBOLISM The Pearl The pearl itself is the most important symbol in the novel. The pearl’s meaning changes at different times of the novel and for different people. At the beginning, the pearl is a symbol of beauty. Everybody admires it, and everybody sees it as a perfect object of natural beauty. But it also has material value. For everybody, the pearl becomes a symbol of financial worth. Kino wants to sell it to get the money for his son’s education. The pearl becomes a symbol of hope, the hope of a better future. But what actually happens is all types of bad things. A series of disasters happen to Kino and his family. Kino is attacked several times, his relationship with his wife suffers, their house is burned and Kino’s canoe is destroyed. The pearl becomes a symbol of
  39. 39. destruction, which was clear for Juana before Kino came to believe her, only after the final catastrophe happens to them, when their only baby Cyotito is killed. The Scorpion The scorpion is a symbol of evil. The scorpion’s poison which spreads in the baby’s body parallels the spread of another kind of poison, the poison of evil that spreads among people of the community. When Kino discovers the pearl, everybody becomes interested in getting his share of the find. People don’t see the pearl as Kino’s, it is everybody’s pearl. Greed and envy are the social poison that spreads everywhere and kills people’s souls, in the same way as the scorpion’s poison kills bodies.
  40. 40. The Canoe The canoe is a symbol of tradition. Kino’s canoe is a family heritage, he got it from his father and his father got it from his father. The pearl makes people become less content with their simple lifestyle and more interested in material possessions. The old traditional values of simple life give way to a new craving of material gain. The canoe’s destruction becomes thus a symbol of the destruction of a way of living and the emergence of a new one.
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Summary and analysis of Steinbeck's The Pearl

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