The story “The Pearl” when taken at face value is about a man who strikes “gold” but on a deeper level explores man’s innate dominance complex through animal imagery. The characters Steinbeck uses animal imagery to describe are Kino, Juana, and the Trackers .
In the Pearl, Kino’s dominant nature is revealed through animal imagery. One example of his dominant nature is his dominance over those who threaten his family. When Kino kills the scorpion, his “teeth were bared” and fury “flared in his eyes”. Both of which are commonly used by animals to project dominance. Another place Kino thinks he dominates is his destiny. When Kino finds the pearl, he “put back his head and howled’. When he howls he is showing that he thinks he is in control. The final thing Kino has dominance of is those who threaten the pearl. When Kino senses the thief in his house he springs “like an angry cat”. When he hears the thief, he responds instinctively and asserts his dominance. Finally after discovering his destroyed boat, it is said that “He was an animal now, for hiding for attacking, he lived only to preserve himself and his family”. The narrator’s statement shows the ultimate primal dominance of living only to protect yourself and family.
Animal Imagery also reveals Juana’s dominance. At first she is shown to be dominant over those who threaten her family, especially her child. When a scorpion bites Coyotiton, Juana has “eyes as a cold as the eyes of a lioness”. Her reaction demonstrates her need to take matters into her own hands when her child is in jeopardy. Also when Kino goes off to fight the tracker, she “peered like an owl”, signifying not only her wisdom but also her sheer determination. Juana is shown to be dominant not necessarily over Kino, but with Kino over the destiny of their child. When Kino tells Juana to stay behind with the baby and she says no, Kino “looked then for weaknesses in her face, for fear or irresolution, and there was none”. The lack...
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