The Pearl

The Pearl/ Chapter 1/ John Steinbeck

contrast kino and the doctor ?

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As shown by his encounter with the scorpion, Kino is a devoted father who dotes on his infant son and adores his wife. Quite importantly, as the story begins Kino is perfectly content with his situation, despite his lack of material possessions and difficult existence. As Kino watches his family, he believes that this is the "whole," the entirety of everything he really needs.

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.

In this chapter, Steinbeck foreshadows eventual changes in Kino's character when he smashes his fist on the doctor's gate. This event shows that Kino reverts to violence and anger when confronted with adversity, yet when he does so he hurts only himself.