The Pearl

What problems are created by the jealously of Kino's neighbors?


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The discovery of the pearl causes a sharp change in the villagers' reactions to Kino and Juana, for the once unimportant couple become renowned and notorious in La Paz. The pearl gives Kino great importance within La Paz, as demonstrated by the visit from the local priest and the doctor who had just recently refused treatment to Coyotito. However, with this newfound interest in Kino comes the impending feeling of hatred and hostility for him; the discovery causes an anonymous bitterness toward Kino for his great luck, a feeling that he and Juana cannot realize. The hostility directed toward Kino and Juana takes two forms; the first is a general jealousy from the community toward Kino for his luck, while the second is a more specific greed shown by those who wish the pearl for themselves. Steinbeck illustrates this avarice through both the priest and the doctor. In the former case, the priest gives attention to Kino merely as a means to gain some of the money to the church, shamelessly asking Kino to monetarily compensate God for the good fortune he has received.