The Pearl


Plot Summary

Kino, together with his wife Juana and infant son Coyotito, live a happy and peaceful life in a fishing village on the coast of Mexican town. Kino is content and takes part in the Song of the Family, a kind of mystical music that includes all the good things in his life. That song, however, is threatened by the appearance of the Song of Evil, first represented by the scorpion which stings and wounds Coyotito.

To re-establish the peace, Kino and Juana seek the assistance of the doctor, but he represents the second kind of evil in the story—the evil found in man. The doctor is a hypocrite who loves only money and comfort and despises those who are different from and beneath him. He refuses to help the baby primarily, however, because Kino has no money to pay for his services.

So, Juana and Kino turn to the sea in hopes of finding a pearl that will induce the doctor to help them. Meanwhile, Juana resorts to the ancient methods of healing that her people have passed down to her. She prepares a poultice of seaweed that helps heal Coyotito. As one evil is turned back, however, another comes to replace it—and this is the evil of the pearl, whose power is far more dangerous because it is so deceptive and seductive.

This pearl is found by Kino in a large oyster. The whole town seems to know about the discovery as fast as the wind can fly. Those who have ignored Kino now present themselves to him. The priest comes, and so does the doctor. Neither is really concerned about anything other than the pearl.

The pearl causes Kino to dream and plan for a future that he did not think of before. He wants to sell the pearl for a great price, but the buyers refuse to give him what he wants. He angrily rebukes them and threatens to go to the capitol himself to sell the pearl. That night, assassins come to rob Kino. He is able to ward off the first attack. This attack, however, causes Juana to sense the evil of the pearl, and she steals it in an attempt to return it to the sea. Kino chases her and then beats her and returns to the hut. Afterward, he...

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