The Pearl

Javiera Ramirez

Does this novella dramatize the plight of a man who was caught in between the material and the spiritual world?
              In this novella, The Pearl, by John Steinbeck; the plight of a man, called Kino, caught in between the material and spiritual world is dramatized. The plot explains how Kino fell for his inner conflicts, trying to decide if the new material world he found along with the pearl is more important than his spiritual world, which is constituted by his family, his culture, his beliefs and what he thinks is right. Both these worlds are in constant conflict with one another, driving Kino to the point of not knowing the difference between wrong and right, and forcing him to pay a price for his actions.
                Starting this novella, the reader has a privileged view of Kino’s spiritual world. The reader can appreciate how influenced his life is by his beliefs and culture, and most of all, superstition, which appears to be present at every chapter of the book. A symbol of this spiritual world is: Kino’s canoe, which was given to him by his father. It represents a way of making a living—both money and food—that has been taught for generations in his family, it represents his link to his cultural tradition. On page 19, the reader can see how Kino is really attached to his culture, “And every year Kino refinished his canoe with the hard shell-like plaster by the secret method that had also come to him from his grandfather.” From this quote, the reader may infer that the author expresses Kino’s attachment to his spiritual world through metaphors, using simple objects, and evoking a feeling of tradition. Other examples of Kino’s spiritual world are: the songs he hears throughout the book, his family, friends, and even the priest, who is a major symbol of Kino’s beliefs. A clear example of Kino’s appreciation for his family is on page 7, where the author writes: “Kino could see these things without looking at...