The Pearl

describe kino and juanas feelings and actions just before opening the great pearl


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When Kino comes up for air, Juana can sense his excitement. Kino opens the various oysters he had caught, leaving the largest one for last. He worries that the large pearl he saw was merely a reflection, for "in this Gulf of uncertain light there were more illusions than realities."


Kino immediately realizes that he has found an impressive pearl when he finds the oyster during his dive, leaving this large oyster as the final one to be opened. This creates a sense of tension and anticipation, as Kino realizes the significance of the pearl he has found. Steinbeck even bolsters the idea of fortuitous chance by juxtaposing the discovery of the pearl with Juana's realization that Coyotito has been cured, thus linking these two events, both of which provide great hope for Kino and Juana.


From the text:

"His eyes were shining with excitement, but in decency he pulled up his rock, and then he pulled up his basket of oysters and lifted them in. Juana sensed his

excitement, and she pretended to look away. It is not good to want a thing too much. It sometimes drives the luck away. You must want it just enough, and you must be very tactful with God or the gods. But Juana stopped breathing. Very deliberately Kino opened his short strong knife. He looked speculatively at the basket. Perhaps it would be better to open the oyster last. He took a small oyster from the basket, cut the muscle, searched the folds of flesh, and threw it in the water. Then he seemed to see the great oyster for the first time. He squatted in the bottom of the canoe, picked up the shell and examined it. The flutes were shining black to brown, and only a few small barnacles adhered to the shell. Now Kino was reluctant to open it. What he had seen, he knew, might be a reflection, a piece of flat shell accidently drifted in or a complete illusion. In this Gulf of uncertain light there were more illusions than realities.

But Juana's eyes were on him and she could not wait. She put her hand on Coyotito's covered head. "Open it," she said softly."


The Pearl/ Chapter 2