Poverty versus Wealth
The pearl's immediate and lasting effect upon Kino is to cause him to dream of better things for himself and for his family. Although the pearl attracts attackers and pursuers, Kino is determined that it shall be the means by which his family rises above their station and, most importantly, his son achieves literacy. In this manner the story is a political one. The story delineates and draws moral conclusions about the differences between early nineteenth century Mexico's poor, characterized by the sympathetic characters such as Kino and Juana and the country's rich portrayed using unsympathetic characters like the doctor.
Although Kino begins the story with the "song of the family" coursing through his being; he is soon sidetracked by the desires generated by the pearl. Though these desires are for things that Kino believes will make the family stronger - a rifle, a marriage, education -