“The Pearl" is one of the most appealing and captivating novels written by John Steinbeck which highlights greed as a destructive power. In this novel, the characters navigate their destiny, racism, and personal desires. This novel is about the life of Kino and the devastating effect of sudden change as from a poor man he turns happy and wealthy. Two of the main characters of this novel Kino and Juana both went through an abrupt change in their life. Kino was a young and strong Native American who is the protagonist of this novel and the head of his family. Kino along with his family used to live in a brush house near the Gulf Sea (Shillinglaw, 2019). Like her husband, Kino, Juana was also a hard-working woman who was able to endure great emotional and physical strain, as she was a pure soul and used to pray in times of distress.
Kino and Juana, who were living a simple but happy life, once found a valuable pearl that turned their life upside down. This accident not only changed their life but their personalities as well. Before finding the pearl, they were living a simple life and were content with whatever they had. Athough they used to pray for a better life they were still satisfied with what they have (Binawan, 2019). The discovery of the magnificent pearl, changed their lives as they had never seen this much wealth in their life. Before finding that pearl, both Kino and Juana were living a humble, content, quiet and happy life. He was a God-fearing and kind-hearted man. He used to listen to the music alongside the river i.e. a splash of water, which was a source of calmness for him. Through this practise of Kino, it could be observed that he was a simple man who used to search his happiness and peace of mind in little things. Kino and Juana, before having the pearl used to live a simple life and this novel shows that they were living a carefree life until their first and only child, Coyotito, got stung by a scorpion.
One day as Kino finds a huge pearl which changed their life once for all. Though finding a pearl sounds very fortunate, it put their lives in danger along with their son. Kino earned others’ jealousy and hate after finding the pearl, as it made him different than the rest of the people who first used to treat Kino and Juana as their community members. They became rich after having the pearl but in reality, this pearl proved as a cause of their hardships and danger that they had to face. After finding the pearl, almost all the people become Kino and Juana’s enemy and started having bitter feelings for them. Buyers tried to cheat them when he wanted to sell that huge and beautiful pearl.
Kino was living a safe and secure life with Juana and his son before he found the pearl but this put the family’s life in danger as Kino was attacked by robbers who wanted to steal the pearl from him (Steinbeck, 2019). Kino and Juana, try to run away from the trackers who were following them. Then there happened, a fight between trackers and Kino, and even though he kills the trackers, however, during the fight, Coyotito is killed. This changed Kino and Juana’s life forever. Juana tried to explain the evils and troubles that the pearl brought with it and after facing hardships and losing their son, Kino lost interest in the pearl and threw it into the water and went toward their town and walking back to their former lives.
Binawan, H. (2019). Feminism as seen in Juana, the secondary character of john steinbeck's pearl. JELE (Journal of English Language and Education), 5(1), 60-65.
Shillinglaw, S. (2019). John Steinbeck's Participatory Politics, 1936–1968. The Steinbeck Review, 16(2), 145-155.
Steinbeck, J. (2019). La perla: En español (Spanish Language Edition of The Pearl). Penguin Books.
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