Pearl Study Guide

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The Pearl—by John Steinbeck
Study Guide
Directions: Answer the following questions below, and respond thoroughly and in complete sentences. Chapter 1
1. What is an oral tradition?
2. Define the word “parable.”
3. Identify each of the following characters below by (1) their relationship to one another and (2) what can be inferred about their personalities thus far. a. Kino –
b. Juana –
c. Coyotito –
d. Juan Tomas –
e. Apolonia –

4. Describe Kino’s family’s living condition.
They live in very poor condition. They have a brush house and old, ragged clothing. They eat the same meal of corn cakes almost every day because that is all they can afford. 5. Describe the tragic event that happens to Coyotito (inciting incident). A scorpion stings him on the shoulder.

6. Why did the townspeople believe the doctor would not come to treat Coyotito? They believed the doctor would not come because Kino had no money to pay him. 7. Identify two characteristics that can be inferred about the doctor. Cite an example supporting each characteristic. He is selfish – he will not treat someone unless they are able to pay him. He sees Kino and his people as beneath him – when he is told of Coyotito’s wound he makes the comment that he is a doctor, not a veterinarian. 8. How would you react to the doctor’s refusal if you were Kino or Juana? Why?

Chapter 2
1. What are Kino’s and Juana’s occupations? They are pearl divers. 2. What does Kino’s canoe symbolize? Cite an example from supporting your answer. The canoe symbolizes his heritage because it was passed down from his grandfather. It also represents his ability to provide because it is said a man with a canoe can promise a woman she will have something to eat. 3. Why do Kino’s people sing songs?

They have no written stories so the songs are a way of passing down their culture. 4. What song does Kino hear in this chapter? What song did Kino hear in the previous chapter before the scorpion stung Coyotito?

5. Analyze Juana’s statement: “It is not good to want a thing too much. It sometimes drives the luck away.” Do you agree with this statement? Why/Why not?

6. What significance has the pearl held for Kino and Juana this chapter (Hint: What does it symbolize)? They believe they can use it to send their son to school. It symbolizes hope for the future. Chapter 3

1. According to Juana, “A town is a thing like a colonial animal. A town has a nervous system and a head and shoulder and feet. A town is a thing separate from all other towns, so that there are no two towns alike. And a town has a whole emotion. How news travels through a town is a mystery not easily solved.” How does her description compare/contrast to how news spreads at this school?

Do you consider this to be a positive/negative quality—explain?

2. Why did Kino suddenly become every man’s enemy when he found “the Pearl of the World”? His new wealth meant that he was suddenly different than the rest of the townspeople. They grew jealous of the possibilities the pearl might offer him.

3. Identify four things Kino hopes the pearl will be able to purchase for his family. a. #1: New clothes
b. #2: A rifle
c. #3: A harpoon
d. #4: Schooling for Coyotito
Which of these items do you believe is the most important to Kino—explain.

4. What explanation can be given for why Kino heard the Song of the Evil in his head when the Father of the Church came to their brush house? What might this foreshadow? The Father asked Kino to remember the church when he sold the pearl but he wants the money for himself. It foreshadows that Kino cannot trust anyone since even the priest is after his newfound fortune. 5. How did the doctor cruelly manipulate Kino and Juana into his treatment of Coyotito’s scorpion sting? What motivated him to do so? He knew Kino could not question his opinion of the scorpion sting because he is uneducated. He may or may not have poisoned Coyotito to make it look like the sting was...
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