Now that you have finished reading the book, can you explain why the foreword says this story is a parable?
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The Pearl is a parable with an uncertain meaning at best and a morbidly determinist one at worst. The story does seem to warn against attempting to improve one's social situation, recalling Juan Tomas' story of the pearl agent who stole the townspeople's pearls. Although it seems to indict Kino for his attempts to gain the fortune that the pearl offers, it offers equal if not greater censure to the elites of La Paz who attempt to exploit Kino and thwart his attempts to sell the pearl. Even if Steinbeck does not intend the story to be a critique of Kino for his behavior, the story has a decidedly deterministic viewpoint that implies that Kino and Juana could do nothing to improve their situation.