The Odyssey and the Pearl: Loyalty

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The Odyssey and The Pearl: Loyalty

Loyalty to another person or to a cause may be an admirable trait, but it can lead to either positive or negative consequences. In Homer's epic The Odyssey and John Steinbeck's novel The Pearl there are characters that show great examples of this trait. Penelope in The Odyssey and Juana in The Pearl are the most obvious, although there are many. Penelope stayed loyal to Odysseus while he was on his twenty-year journey and Juana stayed by her husband through his time of distress.

Penelope stayed loyal to Odysseus while he was on his twenty-year journey. To ward off suitors that were beckoning for her hand, she made them a promise that as soon as she finished weaving a gift for her father, she would take one of their hands in marriage. Nightly, unbeknownst to the suitors, she would unravel her work, so that she could remain faithful to Odysseus. Also, Penelope promised her hand to the suitor who could meet a test. Penelope's test was to string Odysseus' bow and then shoot an arrow through the eye of twelve ax handles. Penelope knew that only Odysseus could accomplish this task. By doing this, she avoided having to marry one of the suitors. Staying loyal to Odysseus brought about positive consequences to Penelope. She was reunited with her beloved husband Odysseus.

Kino's wife Juana stayed by her husband through his time of distress. Although it was her belief that the pearl was an omen of evil, she loyally stayed at her husband's side. Juana remained loyal to Kino even after he had savagely beaten her. She knew that she had brought it upon herself and it was her place to accept the beating. Also, Juana vowed not to leave her husband's side when he decided to flee from the town after murdering one of the townspeople. She made the treacherous journey with her husband across a desert trying to outrun the men that pursued them. Negative consequences were the outcome of Juana's loyalty to Kino. Her...
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