Symbolism in the Pearl

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Symbolism in The Pearl by John Steinbeck

Novels were created to show a very naive view in great depth. The Pearl is a novel in its most complete form. Steinbeck does this by conveying life symbolically. Through symbols, John offers the reader a clearer look at life and it's content. He shows major imagery in four ways: Kino, music, Coyotito, and the "Pearl of the World".

Kino overall symbolizes clearly good and innocent. Kino is thought of as "a wise, primitive man" who is hungry for fortune because of the great pearl, which he discovers and later in the story he becomes "an angry, frightened, but resolute man, determined to keep what he has earned". He is a young diver who lives in a small village on the coastline of Mexico. In the beginning of the story he has come to own the Pearl of the World (a legendary item of considerable wealth. He hoped the pearl would be an opportunity to get the many things he wanted for his family and himself.

The music in Kino's head represents his conscience in the real world. It warns him of bad by the Song of Evil, it makes him feel good by the Song of the Family, and the Song of the Pearl reminds him of all the things the pearl brought him. In the end, the irony of the story is that even a good person can be lead off course by his feeling of inner responsibility to provide for his family. Kino's actions are being motivated to raise Coyotito in greatness, which eventually leads to the death of Coyotito (Kino's greatest loss). Many desires in life can lead to disaster.

Coyotito is a outcome of Kino and Juana, and this is how he is one of the main characters. Coyotito is a symbol of unchanging innocence being betrayed by his own flesh and blood. Coyotito's innocence is equivalent to the innocence of an actual pearl; a pearl is secure in it's shell until something comes along and destroys the pearl's home and ruin it's beauty and simplicity. Being good and innocent doesn't matter in this intense world.

Lastly, the Pearl...
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