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These references suggest that Kino's family is being swallowed wholeby the community that wishes to share their good fortune. They are surrounded by people who only want what they have to give..... they want to feed off their fortune and swallow them in the process. Kino's family is the prey...... their community the predators.
Out in the estuary a tight-woven school of small fishes glittered and broke water to escape a school of great fishes that drove in to eat them. And in the houses the people could hear the swish of the small ones and the bouncing splash of the great ones as the slaughter went on. The dampness arose out of the Gulf and was deposited on bushes and cacti and on little trees in salty drops. And the night mice crept about on the ground and the little night hawks hunted them silently.