Irony of the Pearl

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The Pearl, by John Steinback, recalls a parable in the bible. In the novella, the pearl is the central symbol, and unlike in the bible, is never clearly defined. Kino, Juana, and Coyotito are affected the most by the product of the pearl. At first, the pearl is seen as a stroke of divine providence, but through-out the novella, it will bring misfortune. The flawless pearl is deceiving and its true essence contrasts between its apparent, good outcome, and its intended, bad outcome.

When Kino finds the pearl in the water, he really thinks that it will bring him wealth and happiness, but that's where he was wrong. The pearl is supposed to bring contentment, but instead, it brings greed and grief. "The essence of pearl mixed with essence of men and curious dark residue was precipitated."(23) The villagers and people that heard about the pearl wanted a part of it. "All manner of people grew interested in Kino—people with things to sell and people with favors to ask."(23)' Even the affluent doctor, who refuses to treat them, thought of how the pearl could benefit him. "The doctor looked past his aged patient and saw himself sitting in a restaurant I Paris and a waiter was just opening a bottle of wine."(22)

When Kino first looked into the pearl, he saw his dreams and his desires, therefore, his illusions. On the other hand, the pearl brought his nightmares and his redundant, therefore, his realities. The pearl brought him everything but good. Kino thought that the pearl would bring Juana joy and allow them to get married in the church; but instead, the pearl and Kino brought her emotional and physical pain. "And in the pearl he saw Juana with her beaten face crawling home through the night."(71) Also, the pearl was supposed to help Coyotito and allow him to go to school; but instead, it ultimately destroyed Coyotito and Kino's plan to end his people's ignorance. "And in the surface of the pearl he saw Coyotito lying in the little cave with the top of his head shot...
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