The Theme of Family in The Pearl

Topics: John Steinbeck, Gender role, Novella Pages: 3 (723 words) Published: April 22, 2014
Marcus Cook
Sexton
English 102
April 21,2014

In John Steinbeck’s The Pearl, Kino, Juana, and Coyotito are a family and the main character in the novella. Family is a main theme developed and seen throughout the story. This reoccurring theme of family is seen because families have strict gender roles, family comes first, and family is the only thing left in the end.

At the turn of the twentieth century in La Paz, Mexico there were strict, unspoken gender roles that constrain free will and choice. The oldest man is the head of the house and makes all decisions without resistance. All others, especially women, are completely submissive to the man of the house. Kino, being the man of the house, supports Juana and their newborn child, Coyotito. When Kino found the Pearl of the World, he decided that it would fund Coyotito’s college, a wedding for he and Juana, and a new rifle. Because of the strict gender roles, Juana could not argue when Kino decided to flee to the city to sell the Pearl of the World. Armed men chase the desperate family and eventually shoot Coyotito. If it had been Juana’s choice, she would have sold it to the pearl buyers in La Paz. Juana even suggests to Kino that he should destroy the pearl but Kino is reluctant. “She realizes that the family would have no meaning without Kino and relents to his desires to sell the pearl in the city” ( , ). Juana must follow and support Kino due to the strict gender role she has been put into. In The Pearl, Family always come first. “Main character Kino protects his family above all else, even the self, and he does so with an almost animalistic fervor” ( , ). One night, someone tries to steal the pearl from Kino; reacting with rage, he kills the thief. Later, the family decides to flee the robbers and head to Capital City. As they are fleeing through the mountainous terrain, Kino kills the three men tracking them. They were a threat to his family so Kino murdered them. He believes...
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