The Pearl Reflection

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The Pearl

In John Steinbeck's Nobel Prize-winning novel, The Pearl, the author portrays a realistic storyline as well as many life-lessons. In Steinbeck's opinion, the job of the writer is to expose "our many grievous faults and failures" in an attempt to improve ourselves, and meanwhile also to celebrate our strengths. He thinks that the writer, while knowing that man can never be perfect, must believe in the perfectibility of man. In The Pearl, Steinbeck uses his incredibly realistic characters to bring out the strengths and weaknesses of humankind.

Among others, Steinbeck speaks of man's weaknesses through the doctor. The doctor, greedy and selfish, is only concerned with himself and money. He poisons and then cures Coyotito, just for the money, regardless of possibly hurting the baby. Also, the doctor tries to steal the pearl from Kino during the night. The doctor shows us how money (and the desire for money) can corrupt someone so that person will do anything for it.

Also, the character Kino, while possessing many strengths, has a great number of weaknesses. After finding the pearl and putting all of his hopes and dreams in it, Kino refuses to listen when Juana tries to convince him that the pearl is evil. Ironically, but not unpredictably, the pearl brings many hardships to the family. Finally, in his madness over the pearl, Kino beats Juana when she attempts to throw the pearl back into the sea, and he ends up killing a man. Kino's pearl has become a part of his soul, and he doesn't listen to his wife Juana, his brother Juan Tomas, or even to his instincts, who all sense that the pearl is evil. Throughout the book, Kino is so confident in his abilities that he fails many of the things he tries to do. At the end of the story, Kino realizes that what he has been ignoring for so long has been right – the pearl really is evil.

On the other hand, Juana portrays the greatness and courage of humankind. During the story, she is always a strong character....
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