The Pearl

Note the fact that the finding of the pearl only seems like a conclusion of kino's conflict against nature and social injustice. what's social injustice does Kino still face

Chapter 2

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In Chapter One, Steinbeck uses the doctor who refuses to treat Coyotito as a symbol of the forces of oppression that Kino and Juana face. The doctor represents the societal system that places a monetary value on human life, as well as the obstacles that Kino and Juana face. The racial divide between the doctor and Kino plays a considerable role in his refusal to treat Coyotito; although this aspect of the story is not omnipresent, this presents an additional element of adversity that Kino and Juana must endure.

*** With the pearl's discovery we can see that everything changes for Kino, most inportant is the fact that this pearl guarantees the doctor will treat his son. Thus, the pearl is almost seen as a life giver.


I believe the injustice we find in Chapter 2 is best described in the following excerpt;

"Once the town finds out about the pearl, however, the object begins to make everyone who beholds it, including Kino, greedy. The neighbors call it “the Pearl of the World,” and while that title originally seems to refer to the pearl’s great size and beauty, it also underscores the fact that having the pearl brings the outside world’s destructive influence into Kino’s simple life. As the dealers begin lowballing him, Kino ceases to view the pearl with optimistic delight and instead focuses on its sale with determined ambition. The pearl’s association with good fortune and hope weakens, and the pearl becomes associated more strongly with human plans and desires. Juana and Juan Tomás begin to view the pearl as a threat rather than a blessing.

The pearl elicits more and more greed on Kino’s part, as he begins to devote all his energies and possessions to protecting it (recalling the biblical parable of the pearl of great price). It thus comes to symbolize the destructive nature of materialism. The implication is that Kino’s acquisition of material wealth isn’t enough to save him from the colonists’ oppression, even though such wealth is the foundation of the colonists’ capitalist system. In fact, Kino’s shift in focus from his spiritual well-being to his material status seems to represent the colonists’ ultimate triumph."