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Symbolism in the Pearl

Nov 26, 2001 543 Words
Symbolism in The Pearl by John Steinbeck

Novels were created to show a very naive view in great depth. The Pearl is a novel in its most complete form. Steinbeck does this by conveying life symbolically. Through symbols, John offers the reader a clearer look at life and it's content. He shows major imagery in four ways: Kino, music, Coyotito, and the "Pearl of the World".

Kino overall symbolizes clearly good and innocent. Kino is thought of as "a wise, primitive man" who is hungry for fortune because of the great pearl, which he discovers and later in the story he becomes "an angry, frightened, but resolute man, determined to keep what he has earned". He is a young diver who lives in a small village on the coastline of Mexico. In the beginning of the story he has come to own the Pearl of the World (a legendary item of considerable wealth. He hoped the pearl would be an opportunity to get the many things he wanted for his family and himself.

The music in Kino's head represents his conscience in the real world. It warns him of bad by the Song of Evil, it makes him feel good by the Song of the Family, and the Song of the Pearl reminds him of all the things the pearl brought him. In the end, the irony of the story is that even a good person can be lead off course by his feeling of inner responsibility to provide for his family. Kino's actions are being motivated to raise Coyotito in greatness, which eventually leads to the death of Coyotito (Kino's greatest loss). Many desires in life can lead to disaster.

Coyotito is a outcome of Kino and Juana, and this is how he is one of the main characters. Coyotito is a symbol of unchanging innocence being betrayed by his own flesh and blood. Coyotito's innocence is equivalent to the innocence of an actual pearl; a pearl is secure in it's shell until something comes along and destroys the pearl's home and ruin it's beauty and simplicity. Being good and innocent doesn't matter in this intense world.

Lastly, the Pearl of the World is hard to grasp for because it is significantly realistic to be true, yet it is as far idealistic as possible. Everyone wanted the same thing, but they knew they all would not be able to have it. The material pearl reveals the irony of good fortune in that what should have been the profession of a lifetime, turns out to be a disaster, producing a great deal of suffering, despair, and ending up with death. It illustrates the insanity and the unique gist of life.

The Pearl may be read as a parable in which people can take their own meaning as well as predict their own ending to the novel. The book could be considered a parable because it explains the moral fiction of Kino or man in general, searching for the wealth, the security, and the freedom in life. The big characteristics of The Pearl are the appealing characters and the obvious story of man as a whole in relation to Kino and to his reaction.

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