The Pearl (Book Report)

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The Pearl
By: John Steinbeck
Book Report

THE PEARL

John Steinbeck was born in February 1902 in Salinas, California and died in December 1968. Steinbeck enrolled in Stanford University however he never graduated. After an unsuccessful try to establish himself in New York he returned to California to do what he did best: write. Steinbeck’s first novel was published in 1929 but his first critical success was achieved with Tortilla Flat which won the California Commonwealth Club's Gold Medal and which deals with the humorous adventures of young men in Monterey during the Great Depression.

Steinbeck writing can be catalogued as social novels in which he develops the theme of economic problems in rural life. After his first success he moved on to write more serious fiction, were he emphasizes on the aggressive social criticism, for example: In Dubious Battle (1936) where he deals with the disorders caused by fruit pickers on plantations in California. After this came Of Mice and Men (1937), a series of short stories collected in The Long Valley (1938). However his best work was published in 1939. The Grapes of Wrath dealt with Oklahoma farmers who moved to California to earn a better living and so became migratory workers. Among others Steinbeck’s later works were: East of Eden (1952), The Winter of our Discontent (1961) and Travels with Charley (1962). Steinbeck’s work finally, made him win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 for Of Mice and Men and a Pulitzer Prize for The Grapes of Wrath.

It is worth to mention also that one of his good works is The Pearl, a story which this report is going to be about.

The Pearl is a novella that tells the story about a poor diver named Kino who finds the largest pearl anyone has ever seen. He wishes to use the money to pay for a doctor to treat his son's scorpion sting. However, his dream for a better life for his family leads to greed, obsession and finally, inevitable tragedy.

The story takes place in a small Mexican town called La Paz. In this town the mexican community sees itself under discrimination by the colonist community. And we can see this throughout the story. However the Mexican community is always united and live each day in harmony.

Kino, the novella’s protagonist, is a young Mexican-Indian pearl diver married to Juana; they have a baby named Coyotito. Their lives seemed peaceful, but their tranquility was threatened when a scorpion bit Coyotito. Juana told Kino to go to town and get the doctor. They decided to go with Coyotito to the doctor. Many members of the village follow them to see what will happen. At the doctor’s house, the doctor’s servant told Kino and Juana that the doctor was not at home, even though the doctor was at home for he didn’t want to help Coyotito since Kino was not able to pay him. Moreover he had prejudice against Kino’s race. Kino then went to work diving in the Gulf for oysters with his canoe, he was determined to find a pearl he could pay the doctor with; meanwhile Juana cures Coyotito in the canoe by applying brown seaweed to his shoulder, which was swollen from the scorpion’s bite. As Kino was collecting oysters on the ocean bottom, he spotted a larger-than-usual oyster, collected it, and returned to the canoe. Kino didn’t want to open the oyster immediately, but Juana suggested him to open it. Finally he did and found a pearl the size of a sea gull’s egg. Juana gazed at the pearl. Kino was very happy about the pearl and yelled loudly enough that he attracted the attention of the other oyster divers, who raced toward his canoe. Before Kino reached home with his great pearl, the news of his discovery had already reached his village and the town. Everyone imagined what he or she would do with the pearl, including the doctor who now says that the baby is a patient of his. The priest arrived at Kino and Juana’s hut and told Kino that he needed to give thanks for finding the pearl. The doctor visits Kino and Juana and...
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