The Doctor - the Pearl by John Steinbeck

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The successful novella called the Pearl was written in 1945 by John Steinbeck who explores the themes of oppression, greed, evil and their connections to his great wealth through the characterisation of the Doctor, an essential character in the book. John Steinbeck uses literary devices such as dialogue and setting to develop the Doctor’s appearance and personality that engages the reader. The Doctor is a symbol for the oppression of the people of La Paz and this is shown in ‘Have I nothing better to do than cure insect bites for little Indians? I am a doctor not a veterinary.’ In this statement he shows how little interest he has in the poor and how insignificant to him they are. He refers to them as lowly animals and this shows how poorly he treats people less wealthy than him. Because of his great wealth which is brought about by the constant oppression of the Native Americans of La Paz he thinks of himself higher in social status. He is an arrogant, selfish person who has no regard for anyone else’s needs preferring to encourage ignorance, inequality and racism. John Steinbeck uses the doctor as a symbol for the attitudes of white men to Native Americans. Greed is a major theme in the Pearl and is explored thoroughly through the Doctor. The Doctor’s appearance is symbolic for his greed and is shown in ‘His eyes rested in puffy little hammocks of flesh and his mouth drooped with discontent. He was growing very stout, and his voice was hoarse with fat that pressed against his throat’. This quote shows the Doctor is not satisfied with his current life even if his lifestyle is more fortunate than that of Kino and other people of La Paz. His fat is symbolic for his need for more wealth and money which he gets this by refusing to treat people with no money as shown in ‘”Has he any money? The doctor demanded “No, they never have any money. I, I alone am supposed to work for nothing-and I am tired of it. See if he has any money!”’ The doctor is the major antagonist...
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