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Essay about "The Pearl" Story Summary

"The Pearl" Story Summary by John Steinbeck

The author of "The Pearl" story is called John Steinbeck. He was born in Salinas in California. He wrote a lot of novels and book. One of his most famous books is “The Pearl”. Although The Pearl is considered as one of the least complicated works of Steinbeck, it is included in the rank between his most notable works and is regarded definitely as one of his most attainable. In fact, the novel was going to be transferred into a film and was changed into a motion picture in 1948. In addition, it shows a simple and easy style which in a large number of methods represents the narrative pace of a movie. Furthermore, the easy and the unsophisticated style of prose in the novel represents the normal and known style of parables especially the ones in the Bible. On the other side, the book takes us to the story of the rich pearl in the Bible and to a specific limit the traditional and famous rhythms besides being able to perceive and understand the morals inside it which aid in explaining and showing its stable force and its greatest fame.


"The Pearl" Chapter #1 Summary:

The first chapter starts with a pearl diver which is the protagonist of "The Pearl" story named Kino. Kino is a poor man who lives with his wife Juana and his young baby Coyotito in a small hut in the village called La Paz. He always awakes every morning in order to have breakfast with his wife and go to his work. But before eating, he checks on his baby boy who sleeps in a cradle hanging from the roof. After that, his wife Juana wakes up to see her son and to begin a fire. Later, she goes to breastfeed Coyotito and to sing a song which motivates Kino to contemplate on the beautiful nature around him full of the sounds of the lovely waves in the ocean, the animals, trees and the lovely birds. As long as they eat their breakfast, Kino and Juana don’t talk to each other, just eat in silence. All that is normal in their day until something terrible happens. The rays of the sunlight show a scorpion crawling into the cradle of Coyotito. Definitely Juana is scared so she starts to say charms and prayers in order to protect the child and Kino begins to move in order to get the scorpion and kill it. 

While Kino is trying to capture the scorpion, the baby boy shakes the rope of the cradle on which the scorpion is standing and that result in falling of the scorpion and biting him. So, Kino takes the scorpion and crushes it totally. Certainly, this doesn’t form as a help for his son and Coyotito starts to scream and cry. As soon as the neighbors next door to hear the screams, they rush into Kino’s hut to see what is happening. On the other side, Juana advises her husband to call the doctor. But there is one problem which is that the doctor is rich and doesn’t go to patients except if they are from higher social class. Therefore, Juana solves the problem by saying that she will take the baby to the doctor instead of his coming to their poor hut. After he arrives at the doctor’s house, a servant from Kino’s same social class tells him in Spanish to wait until he tells the doctor. Then, the servant tells the doctor about Kino and his son and he replies if Kino is able to pay for the treatment. Kino gives the servant eight small pearls to give them to the doctor but at the end he tells him that the doctor has a serious case and he must leave which make Kino so angry and mad because he will not be able to cure his son.


"The Pearl" Chapter #2 Summary:

The second chapter starts with describing the nature in which Kino and his wife live. A group of blue and white canoes standing on the beach to catch pearls, sea creatures like lobsters, crabs and sea horses swim without a target in the waves and dogs and pigs look for food on the shore. As for Kino and Juana, they wake up early to their canoe in order to look for pearls to find one which will be satisfied with the doctor in order to treat their boy Coyotito. The canoe which is considered the only thing left for Kino from his family is his only valuable thing. On the other side, Juana puts a blanket inside it to put her son over it in order to warm him and protect him from the sun. In addition, she puts some weed on the injury of her baby in order to calm it and not to make him scream.

Then she jumps inside the canoe and Kino pushes it in order to enter into the depth. They move to other canoes which are standing in an oyster depth to find pearls. While Juana is waiting for her husband, Kino jumps in the water for 2 minutes as he collects a large number of shells comprising a one that has a brilliant gleam. After he climbs into the canoe, he starts to open the smaller shells and because he and his wife are so enthusiastic about the largest shell, they start to open it. Once they open it, they find the biggest pearl they have ever seen in their life and Juana begins to realize that the injury of her son is becoming better in the existence of the pearl. As a result, she and her husband are so happy and start to yell because of their joy. As soon as they hear the yell of joy and happiness, other canoes begin to come in order to see what is happening and to know why Kino and his wife Juana are shouting of joy and yell of happiness.


"The Pearl" Chapter #3 Summary:

The third chapter begins with the news about Kino who has found the Pearl of the World. All the people in the whole village of La Paz starting from the poorest reaching to the richest and highest social classes want to see the pearl and desire of how this pearl could aid them. Also the doctor, who refused to treat their baby boy, wants the pearl like everybody else. Because they don’t know that others want their pearl a lot and they are jealous of them, Kino and Juana invite all the neighbors to see their treasure. When Juan Tomas, who was Kino’s brother, ask him about his plans in the future regarding the pearl, Kino starts to say in details about these plans: first he will get a good marriage in the church, then he will get new clothes for his family, shooter, harpoon and other things including sending Coyotito to a school in order to be educated and taught. While the neighbors stay a lot in their hut, the priest of the village comes to visit the hut and to benedict it. He also tells Kino that they must not forget the church in their new wealth and Kino replies that he intends to get married in the church. As soon as the priest leaves, Kino begins to feel a bad sense. After the neighbors leave, Kino starts to realize that he must keep the pearl in a safe place in order not to be stolen.

From the door of his hut, he sees two men coming and their shadows show that they are the doctor and his servant. They come in order to tell him that his son and his family could be infected forever. Juana feels scary but Kino tells her that everything will be alright. After he examines the boy, the doctor says that he will give him a capsule which he will continue to give. Because he adds that the poison could hit the boy again or could save him, he will come back within an hour in order to check on him. Then, the neighbors come to offer help for Kino. As soon as he realizes that the pearl must be hidden in a safer place, he digs a hole in which he buries the pearl. The doctor comes back and offers Kino to take the pearl and keep it in a safer place but Kino replies that he will sell it in the morning as soon as he finds the buyer who will pay a good price. After he leaves, Kino starts to be afraid and he goes to the pearl to hide it under his sleeping mat. But then, he wakes because he hears noises and he sees an intruder. He fights him and stabs him strongly. Then Juana runs across him to heal his wound in his forehead. She tells her husband that this pearl is a curse for them but he agrees and says that it will brighten their future and make it better. As the sun starts to rise, Kino watches the future of his family in the illuminant rays of the pearl.


"The Pearl" Chapter #4 Summary:

The fourth chapter starts with the news between people of the village that Kino is going to sell his pearl. The pearl vendors are interested and so as pearl fishers. The next day, Kino, Juana and Coyotito put on their finest clothes in order to attend this amazing occasion. Kino definitely is anxious because he wants to sell his pearl with the highest price and he doesn’t want to appear as a man who could be fooled easily. As soon s they get out of their house, neighbors begin to gather around them and Juan Tomas warns Kino that he could be cheated so he must be very careful and Kino calms him down. After they reach the city, pearl buyers start to gather around them in order to buy the pearl. The first man who sees it denies its importance because he thinks that it is too big to be sold and it must be put in a museum. So he offers one thousand pesos. Kino becomes angry and insists that the pearl’s price is more than that. The dealer advises Kino to take the opinions of other buyers. As for the neighbors, they start wondering whether Kino is foolish enough to refuse such a large amount of money or he just wants more in order not be scammed. Then, three new buyers come to view the pearl. The first two of them refuse the pearl and the third one tells Kino that he will pay him five hundred pesos.

As soon as he hears the deal, Kino removes the pearl and ends the selling process. After he reacts this way, the initial buyer tells him that his deal is still there and he could pay him one thousand pesos. Due to Kino’s anger and his outrage, the bid is raised to fifteen hundred pesos but Kino also refuses the deal and says that the value of his pearl is much worth than that. So, he leaves the city and goes back to his hut. He buries the pearl under his sleeping mat as well and Juan comes to tell him that this pearl will cause him a lot of trouble but he isn’t able to convince him, so he leaves. During his sleep, he feels the presence of another intruder so he takes his knife outside and walks through the door. From the darkness, a man shoots him and leaves him in his blood. Juana rushes quickly towards her husband who is half conscious. After she cares for his wounds and injuries, Kino admits that he wasn’t able to see who shot him. In addition, she advises and begs him to disregard and ignore this pearl but Kino insists stronger than before that they will set out in the canoe for the deal. So, she obeys her husband’s desire and they go back to sleep.


"The Pearl" Chapter #5 Summary:

The fifth chapter talks about Kino who is following his wife and as soon as he realizes that she is going to throw the pearl back in the water, he punches her in the face and in her side which result in her falling down leaving her body on the shore. When he takes the pearl from her and goes back to his house, a group of men attack him. He is able to stab one of them and kill him but he loses is pearl. At the same time, Juana wakes up and sees the pearl on the road so she picks it up and goes back to her husband to save him. After she reaches him, she tells him that they must escape but Kino replies that he lost the pearl. When she shows it secretly to him, he agrees but she tells him that they must away quickly or he will be arrested for committing a crime. He tells her that it was a self-defense but she replies that his alibi isn’t strong enough. When both of them go back to their canoe in order to run away with it, Kino finds a hole in it and becomes very furious. When he gets back to the house, he finds that the house is full of fire and as he runs across it, he finds Juana with Coyotito. While the neighbors rush to protect their houses from the fire, Kino and his family go to hide inside Juan’s house. Kino tells his brother about committing his crime and how he lost his house and his canoe. Then he tells him if he could stay the night with him in order to gather himself and be able to escape in the morning. Juan agrees and asks him if he still has the pearl. Kino replies with positive answer. In the night, he takes his wife and their son into the north to sell the pearl.


"The Pearl" Chapter #6 Summary:

The sixth chapter starts with the beginning of Kino and Juana’s journey towards the north. After they make a camp on their road, Juana asks Kino if they will continue their path. Then she starts to doubt the desire of her husband that the pearl is worth than what he thinks but he tells her that if it is not worth a lot, then attackers wouldn’t attack them. Then he looks in the pearl and sees a body full of blood on the ground but he lies to his wife that he sees a rifle, a bright future and great wealth. At the same time, attackers start to assault him and his family and they are able to escape from them but only for a short time. So Kino suggests that they could be able to lose them if they go to the mountains. After they reach a pool where they take a break and rest, the trackers at the night come to the same spot in order to sleep and rest as well. Kino thinks that this is the only chance for him in order to kill the three attackers who one of them is awake and the others are sleeping in the darkness. As soon as he reaches him, the moon rises and Kino thinks that he loses his chance but he starts to take another risk. Then suddenly, his son makes a cry and the attackers hear it. They don’t know if it is a cry of a human or just a cry of a coyote. Therefore, they shoot towards the direction of the cry which hits and kills Coyotito. Kino then jumps on the attackers killing the one who was awake and stopping the shooting. Later, he kills him by shooting him between his eyes. At the end, he hears the terrible cry from his wife for losing her only son. So, they go back to the town carrying the body of their boy and at the night, Kino takes the pearl out of his pocket and throws it in the ocean.


Analysis of "The Pearl" Story:

According to the researcher’s opinions and scholars who studied this novel, the most important element in it is definitely greed by being considered as a destructive power. While he is searching to be famous and become richer and wealthier, Kino changes from a good, happy and lovely husband who has an adorable family, a lovely wife and a cute baby boy to a murderer, a harsh and cruel man who beats his wife and an innocent human. As for the pearl, it is also changed from a source of happiness and brilliant future to a source of destructive power and terrible destiny. Indeed at the end, Kino’s greed and desire of more wealth leads to the murder of his only boy and his isolation and separation from the customs and traditions of his society and village. Also as for the neighbor and people of the village, they desire for the pearl because of the poverty in which they live and in order to be part of the highest social class in their society.


Essay about "The Pearl" Story Summary
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