The Pearl

How does Juana feel about Kino being a man?


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Juana knows that when Kino said that he is a man, he meant that he was "half-insane and half-god" and knows as a woman that "the mountain would stand while the man broke himself; that the sea would surge while the man drowned in it."

Steinbeck makes the explicit point that the greatest damage caused by the pearl is the change that it effects within Kino. The caring father and partner of the first chapter at this point in the story attacks Juana when she attempts to take the pearl. Juana realizes the change in her husband from a normal man to one with a questionable grip on sanity. It is ironic that, when Kino declares that he is a man, he begins to act "half insane and half god," thus negating the qualities that define him as a man. Steinbeck creates a tone of futility about Kino's enterprise; as the rational and level-headed Juana realizes, Kino is a man raging against an obstacle as insurmountable as a mountain or a storm, and his struggles will only cause him to destroy himself.