Literature / The Pearl
A 1947 novella by John Steinbeck
is the story of Kino, a poor diver. Kino's son, Coyotito, is stung by a scorpion. In order to pay the doctor to cure him, Kino goes diving for pearls. (It's his job anyway, but it's got extra urgency now.) He eventually finds the Pearl of the World, but it brings him nothing but trouble.
A Spanish-language Film of the Book
was released, also in 1947.
- Ambition Is Evil
- Artifact of Attraction
- Artifact of Doom: Sort of, because the eponymous pearl attracts Humans Are Bastards and Green Eyed Monsters.
- Barefoot Poverty: Kino hopes to be able to buy some shoes with the pearl.
- Downer Ending: Coyotito is killed. Kino and Juana throw away the pearl.
- Fantastic Racism
- Gold Fever: More like pearl fever.
- Greed: A major theme in the book. Leading to...
- Humans Are Bastards
- Invisible Streaker: In a sense; late in the book Kino strips naked so that he'll be better camouflaged in the dark.
- It's All Junk
- Jerkass: The doctor who treats Coyotito comes to mind...
- Kill the Cutie: Coyotito.
- Littlest Cancer Patient (okay, it's not cancer exactly, but...)
- Leitmotif: A literary example in Kino and Juana's Song of Family and The Pearl's Song of Evil
- Lost Aesop: The original moral is supposed to be interpreted as 'Greed is bad'. Since when was curing your child of poison and wanting to get your kid an education greedy? Or getting officially married?
- Looked at in the cultural context of the setting, and the lack of education of the lower classes, it would actually make sense. Consider: In listing the things he wants to achieve with the riches from the pearl, Kino says he will legally marry Juana and buy the family new clothes. Okay, reasonable. Then he goes on to say he wants to get a rifle for himself (he does eventually), and he'll send Coyotito to school - this last a major deal for his neighbors because of the cultural influence education will have on their simple way of life that they've known for generations. Then, later on in the novel, Kino rehashes these dreams, but his rendition of them is gradually much more grandiose than when they were first mentioned.
- MacGuffin: The pearl, of course.
- Meaningful Name: Coyotito is, if it wasn't clear enough, named after a coyote. Which leads to him being shot in the head when his cries are mistaken for that of a coyote's
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Kino goes on one in the penultimate chapter.