A 1947 novella by Creator/JohnSteinbeck.

''The Pearl'' is the story of Kino, a happy but poor pearl diver who lives with his wife and son in an indigent Mexican-Indian community on the Gulf. Kino's son, Coyotito, is stung by a scorpion. With no other way to pay the doctor to cure him, Kino goes diving for pearls. He finds an enormous, perfect pearl--possibly the largest ever found. He attempts to sell "the Pearl of the World," in hopes of buying a better life for his family, but it brings him nothing but trouble.

A Spanish-language FilmOfTheBook was released, also in 1947.
!! '''Tropes''':
* AmbitionIsEvil: This is the story's moral, but it's not as {{anvilicious}} [[{{zigzagged}} as it might seem]] if you just read the Cliff's notes. Kino's desires are extravagant by the standards of the Mexican-Indian community he's a part of, but awfully humble compared to the lifestyle of the wealthy white folk who live in town. The narration makes it clear that it's not just the money that makes the pearl buyers balk; it's the idea that a brown man can catapult himself out of poverty through hard work and a bit of luck. They know they must stop Kino before he empowers the indigents and upsets the whole balance of society in the town.
* ArtifactOfAttraction
* ArtifactOfDoom: The eponymous pearl reveals that HumansAreBastards in myriad ways. It incites domestic violence from gentle Kino, and in less good-hearted folk it drives greed, jealousy, and even murder.
* BarefootPoverty: Kino hopes to be able to buy some shoes with the pearl.
* CloserToEarth: Quiet, obedient Juana is a pillar of strength for her husband, and is the power and center of their domestic lives. She wants to throw the pearl away at the first sign of trouble, but Kino had already become infatuated with the pearl and the riches it represented.
* DownerEnding: [[spoiler: Coyotito is killed. Kino and Juana throw away the pearl.]]
* ForWantOfANail:
** The whole plot is kicked off when Coyotito is stung in his box-bed by a scorpion. The scorpion is creeping down the rope from which Coyotito's box is hanging from the ceiling; Kino is creeping forward to grab it when suddenly Coyotito playfully shakes the rope; Kino then lunges forward to catch the falling scorpion, but he ''just'' misses it, resulting in Coyotito getting stung. If (a) the scorpion hadn't been there in the first place, (b) Coyotito hadn't shaken the rope, or (c) Kino had successfully caught the scorpion, the rest of the plot wouldn't have happened.
** Another example of a nail that happens midway through the book, the nail in this case being Kino's growing obsession with the pearl and the riches it could bring his family, even after two attempts by would-be thieves to steal the pearl from him at that point, resulting in attacks on himself and his family. Had Kino just been humble enough to sell the pearl at the first opportunity, despite the admittedly low price he was being offered for it, the last half of the book wouldn't have taken place. Lampshaded by Kino's brother Juan Tomas after the second robbery attempt:
--> '''Juan Tomas:''' It is the pearl. There is a devil in this pearl. You should have sold it and passed on the devil.
** The pearl itself is another nail. If Kino hadn't found it, the next two-thirds of the plot wouldn't have happened.
* GoldFever: The pearl incites a desperate greed in people.
* {{Greed}}: A major theme in the book. Leading to...
* HumansAreBastards
* InfantImmortality: Averted. [[spoiler: Coyotito is shot in the head and killed.]]
* InvisibleStreaker: In a sense; late in the book Kino strips naked so that he'll be better camouflaged in the dark.
* ItsAllJunk: After losing something irreplaceable, the pearl holds no mystique for Kino and Juana.
* {{Jerkass}}: The doctor who treats Coyotito comes to mind...
* KillTheCutie: [[spoiler:Coyotito.]]
* {{Leitmotif}}: A literary example in Kino and Juana's Song of Family and The Pearl's Song of Evil.
* MacGuffin: If it was not a real life example, it would probably be mocked as the worst example of this trope. It's a shiny iridescent bauble with absolutely no intrinsic value. In fact, the pearl buyers [[ExploitedTrope try to use the arbitrary value]] of such one-of-a-kind gem against Kino, saying it is only valuable as a novelty, and making insultingly low offers for the pearl.
* MeaningfulName: Coyotito is, if it wasn't clear enough, named after a coyote. Which leads to him [[spoiler:being shot in the head when his cries are mistaken for that of a coyote's]]
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Kino goes on one in the penultimate chapter.
* PyrrhicVictory: Kino defeats the men who would have killed him and his family for the pearl, but his domestic bliss is gone forever.
* ShaggyDogStory: After all that struggle and suffering, Kino and Juana [[spoiler: throw the pearl back into the sea]].
* SparedByTheAdaptation While[[spoiler: Coyotito]] is killed in the book he surivies in the movie.