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The Pearl

By razelfayelising Dec 12, 2012 1439 Words
In The Pearl, the author, John Steinbeck, uses the pearl to express what human nature is. At the beginning of the novel, the pearl that Kino finds is described as large as being incandescent and as "perfect as the moon"; by the end of the novel, Kino looks at the pearl it is "ugly, gray, like a malignant growth." In general, mankind’s are greedy, deceptive and evil. In the novel, Steinbeck tries to say that human nature tendency toward greed, deception and evil, which can cause something good and beautiful to become something bad and evil in both physical and mental ways. First of all, Steinbeck shows human beings are instinctively greedy. Steinbeck uses the scene to show humans are gluttonous is where the doctor comes to Kino's house and heals Coyotes after Kino has found a pearl. When Coyotes is bitten by the scorpion, Kino takes him to the doctor to get treatment. But the doctor refuses to heal Coyotes because Kino is indigent. Later On, after Kino owns the pearl, the doctor automatically comes to Kino's house and offers a "treatment" for Coyotes. After he "treats" Coyotes, he pretends that he does not know Kino has a pearl and asks Kino about the medical expenses. "You have a pearl? A good pearl? The doctor asks with interest" (35). The reality is that he wants Kino's pearl more than giving people treatments. Although the doctor has a lot of money and his life is very plentiful, he still wants more and his is discontented. Obviously, the greed had already controlled the doctor's mind and the way he acts. Another example that humans are greedy is the scene where Kino does not want to give up the pearl and keeps all his dreams also demonstrates people's avarice. Juana, who is smart enough to figure out the reality of the pearl trouble, advises Kino to throw the pearl away. Juana says, "This pearl is evil. This pearl is like a sin. It will destroy us all!"(38). Even though Juana warns Kino that the pearl will bring misfortunes to the family and advises him to throw the pearl away, Kino neither takes the advice nor listens to what his wife says because Kino's mind is already overtaken by his dreams. He is only thinking of being "Juana and Coyotes and himself standing and kneeling at the high alter" (24), "[dress] in the new white clothes" (24), "holding a Winchester carbine" (25), and "Coyotes sitting at a little desk in a school" (25). Clearly, the greed is surpassed his mind and controls his actions and what he says. After Kino has found of "the pearl of the world", everyone is willing to own it and they begin to start think of their own dreams, "Every men suddenly [becomes] related to Kino, and Kino's pearl [goes] into the dreams, the schemes...man's enemy" (23). And so, the narrator says, "For it is said humans are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more" (25). In the scene where people try to steal Kino's pearl after the pearl is found (37-38), they do whatever that is possible in order to steal the pearl. Jealousy has grown in the heart of these people and jealousy has turned into greed. People are hurting each other and it is like a "dog-eat-dog world." From greediness comes deception, which is another humans' characteristic. In the scene where Kino sells his pearl, the pearl dealers try to deceive Kino since he is ignorant (48-52). They all act in collusion with each other because they want to buy the pearl at a very cheap price. In order to do that, all dealers tell lies, saying that the pearl was not valuable and it was a monstrosity because they are willing to deceive to get what they want. And, the doctor is also deceptive when he comes to Kino's house and heals Coyotes; the doctor reveals his characters of deception (30-33). The doctor makes Coyotes sick for a while by giving him a "potion", which is in reality a dangerous substance. First, he overstates Coyotito's state of his illness, saying that he might die if he does not get immediate cure. Since Kino is ignorant, he does not know the doctor is telling the truth or not. The doctor gives Coyotes some "potion" and that makes him sick for a while and he says this "potion" would help Coyotes to get rid of the poison. In fact, Coyotes is getting better right before the doctor comes to heal him. "The doctor smiles, but his eyes in their little lymph lined hammocks [do] not smile" (30). As one reads this quote carefully, one can see what the purpose is when the doctor comes to Kino's house----either steals the pearl or forces Kino to pay for the treatment. Since the doctor knows he can retrieve power form Kino, he must want to do something to deceive Kino. The way that the doctor acts seems to be nice, helpful and kind; but what he does and thinks is unconcerned and deceptive---makes an illusion and lies to Kino. Lastly, evil is one of mankind’s' instinctive qualities as well, which comes from people's greed and deception. Steinbeck uses the doctor who refuses to treat Coyotes as a symbol of showing humans is evil. When Coyotes is bitten by the scorpion and Kino asked the doctor for treatments, he rejects to heal the Indian people who are not the same race as he is unless those people can prove that they have enough money to pay for his service, "Have I nothing better to do than cure insect bites for little Indians'? I am a doctor, not a veterinarian" (11). "Has he any money? No, they never have money. I, I alone in this world am supported to work for nothing--- and I am tired of it. See if he has any money!"(11). Even though he might able to cure, he only cures those who can afford to pay for the treatment. On the other hand, the doctor might kills someone indirectly since the doctor refuses to heal those patients who do not get immediate cure. Also, in the scene where Kino hits Juana when she tries to throw the pearl away back in the sea without asking Kino, this reveals humans are naturally evil. "He [strikes] her in the face and she [falls] among the boulders, and he [kicks] her in the side...He [hisses] at her like a snake and she [stares] at him with wide unfrighten eyes, like a sheep before a butcher" (59). Kino hits his wife and becomes more evil after he has found the pearl. Most important of all, he has lost his humanity and becomes like an animal. He will not consider his family anymore like he used to because he has turned evil and he is overtaken by his dreams. Also, Steinbeck uses the scene where people burn down Kino's house to show humans do evil acts to harm someone. Since the pearl dealers cannot think of a way that can deceive Kino, they burn down his house in revenge, which makes Kino's family become homeless. Kino's house has "smokes of the first fires seeped out through the walls of the brush house" (62) and is "a tall edifice of fire lighted the pathway" (63). Once again, human beings' avarice and deception have turn into evil and make them do evil acts, which can harm people very easily. All in all, Steinbeck states the facts in The Pearl that humans are instinctively avaricious, deceptive and evil, which can cause something perfect and gorgeous into something bad and wicked in both physical and mental ways. At the beginning of the novel, the pearl is described as being lucent and perfect; later on, the pearl is described as having a "curious dark" on its surface; at the end, the pearl is ugly and gray. The doctor, townspeople and Kino, who are affected by greed, deception and evil of the humans' characteristics, do something bad that makes the pearl becomes ugly and dark. We, human beings, do something bad and evil and our behavior will change the "quality" of an object. In other words, an object's "quality" depends on the way people look at it and how people treat it. If we try to get what we want and do not be concerned or examine our behaviors, something that is beautiful and perfect can turn into something bad and evil, just like the ending of this novel.

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