Challenge Language Arts 4
21 November 2014
The Pearl: A Classic to Last the Ages
Literature has been a pastime of humanity since its very invention. As long as there have been books, there have been people to read them. But some books stand out amongst all others.
These books endure the test of time, we call them classics. John Steinbeck's, The Pearl, undoubtedly deserves it's status as a classic.
This novella has a myriad of themes and lessons, but a few pop out, and stretch throughout the entire book. One of the primary themes in The Pearl is Kino's instincts, as Kino encounters possible danger or deceit, the music he hears in his head changes to something more sinister and warning. An example of this is when Steinbeck describes how "the music of evil was sounding in his head and he was fierce and afraid" (36). Not a page later someone comes and attacks Kino in a attempt to steal his pearl. His music is especially intense when his family is endangered, like in this instance, "In his mind a new song had come, the Song of Evil, the music of the enemy, of any foe of the family, a savage, secret, dangerous melody, and underneath, the
Song of the Family cried plaintively" (5). This is from the part where Kino's son, Coyotito, is about to be stung by a scorpion. These examples support the theme because they show how protective Kino is over his family and how the instinct to protect them trumps everything else.
The second major theme in this story is greed. Kino's greed costs him a lot in the end.
This theme is conveyed by these parts in the story. The most obvious is when Steinbeck writes,
"For it is said humans are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more"(25). Another time greed is portrayed is, when Kino turns down the pearl buyers offer because he believes he can get more. Even though what he is being offered is more than he has ever had in his life. He is so focused on having everything he wants, that he doesn't even stop to consider that the pearl buyers might be telling the truth when they tell him it is not worth much.
My last example is where Kino is talking about what he will get once he sells the pearl. As he considers, he progressively picks more luxurious and expensive things. This has to do with the theme because, he should be satisfied with what he can get, but he wants more and more until he is considering things that would be almost unimaginable.
This story also has an active use of foreshadowing. The first event that is hinted at several times throughout the story is the death of Coyotito, Kino's son. It is clearly foreshadowed during this bit, 'It will destroy us all,' Juana cried. 'Even our son.' (Steinbeck 39). Juana says this as she talks about the pearl. Later on, it is Kino's desperation to start a new life using the pearl that gets his son killed. It was also foreshadowed when Coyotito almost dies from the scorpion's sting, and the doctor's medicine. A third time it was foreshadowed was here, " 'Our son must learn to read,' he said frantically. And there in the pearl Coyotito's face, thick and feverish from the medicine"
(71). This is foreshadowing because as he is trying to imagine his son's future, all he sees is him sick, and about to die, instead of the happy outcome he's hoping for.
The next thing foreshadowed is the pearl being something like a poison, after Kino got the pearl things started going downhill. My first example of where this was foreshadowed is on pages 49 through 51, where the pearl sellers tell Kino the pearl is practically worthless. This backs my statement because, they talk about how the pearl will die in a few months, the same sort of thing happens with Kino's wishes for the pearl. Another example is on pages 37 and 38,
Kino gets injured when someone tries to steal the pearl from his hut when they think he's sleeping. He manages to fight them off, but that is only the beginning of