Pearl Final Exam
This novel is not just a narrative about a native finding a precious jewel and who is overcome with fear, obsession and anger. This novel is a story of how a simple sense of greed can destroy a man’s morals, and view on what is really important. In The Pearl, the reader sees how the Europeans had a sense of control over the natives. The mind control that the Europeans had over the natives is very present. There are examples of the doctor in Kino’s community trying to swindle, manipulate, and mislead Kino.
When the doctor learns of Kino’s pearl, he uses Coyotito’s sickness to try and take the pearl from them. Not knowing his son was actually fine, Kino allowed the doctor to try and make Coyotito feel “better”. However, in all actuality the doctor makes Coyotito more ill. The Europeans had this advantage over the natives. The natives were ignorant to what was true and what a form of mind control was. This sense of mind control the Europeans had over the natives led Kino to act differently than what he was acting prior to finding the pearl.
The sense of fear was put into Kino and the sense of greed was coming out of him. Kino became disturbed. The pearl was separating him from his true self. In the very beginning of the novel, Kino hears the “Song of the Family. ” The song is referring to the traditional values that were instilled in him before the Europeans came and replaced those traditional values with their own. When Kino found the pearl, his morals changed. He became more obsessed with the pearl than the safety of his family. Kino does not take heed of the feelings of the gods as he may once have done before finding the pearl.
However, he keeps hearing a melody or sound whenever he feels that something is not right. He does not take heed of it, but he doesn’t completely ignore it. Kino felt anger whenever he hears the music. This music kept playing in his head reminding him of what was right the whole time. In a sense, this ultimately shows what greed can do to someone who is caught between doing what is morally right, and what he has been taught is right. Music was very important to Kino and his family. It gave a sense of their traditional culture that had been stripped away from their ancestors.
Throughout the course of the novel John Steinbeck refers the music in Kino’s head the “Song of the Family” or the “music of the enemy”. On page 2, John Steinbeck describes Kino replaying the music of his ancestor’s in his head. He shows how they would make up song from anything that they had heard, seen or felt. Kino referred to this as the Song of the Family. When the Europeans came to the new world, they forced their culture on the natives. They stripped them of their tradition and values. However, Kino’s family still acquire their traditional values and they still use them.
On page 5, John Steinbeck tells of Juana chanting the “ancient magic” of her ancestors along with the Hail Mary of the Europeans to save Coyotito from the scorpion. She was confused about which chant would save her child’s life because their ancestor’s traditional music chant was still instilled in them, but she had been force to accept the new tradition that had been brought by the Europeans. While searching for the pearl, he found a clam that contained the pearl. He was reluctant to pick that clam however because he didn’t want to receive bad luck from the gods because of greed of the pearl.
When he picked up the clam that contained the pearl, it says that he heard the melody of his heartbeat of the maybe pearl. On page 19, he finally found the pearl. It says that Kino heard the melody of the pearl which was triumphant and beautiful. The melody of the maybe pearl gave him hope for a better life for his family. This is the same hope that he could have gotten from the traditional chants and songs of his ancestors. While having this pearl, Kino faces some adversaries. On page 27, the priest of their town comes to Kino when he learns that he has the pearl.
The priest tells Kino that he is named from a great father of the church. He also goes on to tell Kino that he should give thanks to God for the pearl “I hope thou wilt remember to give thanks, my son, to Him who has given thee this treasure, and to for guidance in the future”. After the priest left, on page 28, it says that “he [Kino] was glancing about suspiciously, for the evil song was in his ears, shrilling against the music of the pearl. ” Also, it says on page 34 that when the doctor had finished giving Coyotito the medicine for the scorpion bite that”. Now uncertainty was in Kino and the music of evil throbbed in his head and nearly drove out Juana’s song”. This shows that the music acted as a conscience for Kino. The music made him realize the cruel ways of the doctors and the priest. On page 90, when Kino and Juana had gotten rid of the pearl, it says that “the music of the pearl drifted into a whisper and disappeared. ” Kino was not focused on the pearl. He was able to realize what was really important. The way that John Steinbeck was able to channel the sense of good and bad through the music compelled me.
The music does not change my perception of Kino. I feel that anyone who has been belittled, disrespected and underestimated for so long and finally finds a way to better himself, would become obsessed with whatever that way may be. Nevertheless, it changes my perception of the natives and the Renaissance period as a whole. I feel that the music would affect each reader differently. The music has such a powerful role in the book that some readers might take if differently as others. The use of music in this novel gives you hope and morality. I feel that John Steinbeck uses music in a lot of different ways.
I feel that he uses darkness and light as a symbol of good and bad. He portrays it the most through Kino. On page 1 it says that Kino awakened near the dark. I feel that this was a sign that Kino himself wasn’t aware of about the pearl. The pearl made Kino dark. He is so obsessed with the pearl that he is so blind to the fact that the pearl has changed all of his morals and values. In the beginning half of page 68, it describes the night as Kino, Juana and Coyotito are walking. It says that it was “so dark that any who moves about can be seen”. I took this as if this quote were describing Kino.
Juana had a sense that the pearl was evil in the beginning. She wanted for Kino to get rid of it. Kino hit Juana because of this. I feel that Kino had changed his morals and values so much that it took him over as a person. Kino put his whole family in danger because of the pearl. There were trackers, merchants, and even his people were after them. However, his greed of the pearl didn’t allow him to see the effect of it. Page 83 tells of Kino taking off his white clothes. This was a sign of Kino’s final transformation from his old traditional and moral values.
He was going to kill the trackers that were after his family. The finding of the pearl led up to all of this. Coyotitio was murdered because of the pearl. Essentially, Coyotito was murdered because of Kino’s transformation from his old tradition and values. John Steinbeck wanted the readers to see the contrast between light and dark both physically and morally. He uses the clothing and the description of the sky and the description of the shadows at the beginning of the book to give the readers a perspective about how the pearl affected Kino and his family. In the novel, the exploitation of the natives is obvious.
The situation that they are put in shows their entrapment by the Europeans. On page 5 it shows how Juana sung a traditional chant and how she sung a Hail Mary also. She was confused and conflicted about how to save her son. I feel that this proves how the Europeans have the natives trapped. Juana can’t decide which method of religious chant to take. This serves as exploitation because it is a way that the Europeans have a control over the natives. The Europeans try to make the natives feel as if they are nothing by forcing their culture on them and getting rid of their own traditional culture.
This is one way that the Europeans exploit the natives. Another way that John Steinbeck shows exploitation of the natives is the reference that he makes to animals. On page 31 it explains how the doctor gives Coyotito the medicine for the scorpion bite. The doctor puts the pill in the back of Coyotitio’s throat. This is how you give an animal a pill. On page 11, the doctor was talking to one of his servants about Coyotitio.
The doctor referred to taking care of Coyotito as if he were taking care of an animal “[doctor] Have I nothing better to do than to cure insect bites for ‘little Indians’? “I am a doctor, not a veterinary. When Kino was being hunted by the trackers, this made him look animalistic. The trackers hunted him and stalked him until they got him at the right time and attacked. This is a way of exploiting the natives because it diminished Kino as a person and it diminished Kino’s race’s character as a people. It shows them being at the same level as animals. I feel that John Steinbeck was giving off the message greed that played a very important role with the pearl. The greed of the pearl was strong.
The greed led to the disruption of the town, the transformation of Kino and how it affected his family and the ones around him, and the death of Coyotito. I feel that John Steinbeck was successful in getting this message across. There are many examples of how greed can lead up to and cause horrible things to happen. The examples are also viewed at from different perspectives. Although Kino wanted the best for his family, his greed for the pearl was far too great. The power of greed superseded the love for his family. In some ways the complexity of all of the characters propel the plot of the novel.
They all played a role in showing the greed of the pearl. The way that the European characters tried to trick Kino for the pearl showed that they were greedy and disrespectful towards the natives. They were willing to do anything for that pearl and they did. Also, the way that Kino transformed made his character complex because he too was willing to do anything for that pearl. Kino’s transformation from good to bad created the complexity for his character. All of his actions lead up to his realization of the greed of the pearl at the end of the novel.
After all of the times that he was attacked, he never gave up. He kept on protecting the pearl. However, by protecting that pearl he was going through a transformation. He did not go by his old morals. He went by new morals. This gave a complex to his character because this showed how the control of greed for the pearl affected his personality and his morals. The Europeans played complex characters in the novel. They tried to trick Kino out of his pearl by using their knowledge against him. Kino was illiterate and he did not know the information that was in the books.
Kino wanted the pearl so that he could send Coyotito to school to learn of the information in the books. This is how the Europeans’ character was complex. The Europeans and the natives’ culture are very different from each other. John Steinbeck uses music and animals to describe the native’s culture and he uses tiny china cup and the pearl to describe the Europeans’ culture. Before the Europeans came to the land of the natives, the natives were intertwined with nature. They respected it. The natives respected the beauty of it. They became a part of it.
Coyotito means little coyote. I believe that it is ironic how John Steinbeck made the natives seems intertwined with music, but made the term animal seem derogatory when he was describing the natives’ from the Europeans point of view. I believe he did this because again, he wanted to show the control that the Europeans had over the natives’ and how ignorant the natives’ were. However, I also feel that John Steinbeck uses symbols in the novel to show how the Europeans’ ways were evil as well. Throughout the novel, the pearl was almost like Kino’s guide.
He only heard it whenever the Europeans would try to swindle him. The Europeans did not have that in the novel. I feel that this symbolizes how ignorant and how much of a mind control the Europeans had over the natives. The natives were never exposed to how much power and ability they had over the Europeans. I feel that John Steinbeck made such a contrast between the cultures because he wanted to point out the ignorance and strength of the natives. I believe that by showing this, he showed how much greed played a big role in the novel as well.
Had Kino not been so obsessed with the pearl, I feel that he would have recognized the power that he and the natives had. This novel is not just a narrative about a native finding a precious jewel and becoming overcame with fear, obsession and anger. This novel is a story of how a simple sense of greed can destroy a man’s morals, and view on what is really important and how the sense of ignorance can tarnish a culture’s pride. In “The Pearl”, the reader sees how the Europeans have a sense of control over the natives. The mind control that the Europeans have over the natives is very present.
There are examples of the doctor in Kino’s community tried to swindle, manipulate, and mislead Kino. When the doctor learns of Kino having the pearl, he uses Coyotito’s sickness to try and take the pearl from Kino. Not knowing the son was actually fine, Kino allowed the doctor to try and make Coyotito feel “better. ” However, in all actuality the doctor makes Coyotito more ill. The Europeans had this advantage of the natives. The natives were ignorant to what was true and what a form of mind control was. This led Kino to act differently than how he was acting prior to finding the pearl.
The sense of fear was put into Kino and the sense of greed was coming out of him. Also, the music that was being play in Kino’s head was changing and turning in to evil. In the very beginning of the novel, Kino hears the “Song of the Family”. This song is referring to the traditional values that were instilled in him before the Europeans came and replaced those rational values with their own. When Kino has the pearl, his morals change. He is more obsessed with the pearl than the safety of his family. Kino does not take hed to the feelings of the gods as he once did before finding the pearl.
Kino put so much faith in the pearl that he did not even think of how the gods would feel about his obsession of it. However, he keeps hearing a melody or sound whenever he feels that something is not right. He does not take head to it, but he doesn’t ignore it. Kino feels anger whenever he hears the music. This music keeps playing in his head to remind him of what was right the whole time. In a sense, this ultimately shows what greed can do to someone who is caught between doing what is morally right, and what he has been taught is right.