The book received initial positive response from publications such as The New York Times and Library Journal.
The story is one of Steinbeck's most popular books and has been widely used in high school and middle school classes.
Jackson Benson writes that The Pearl was heavily influenced by Steinbeck's interest in the philosophy of Carl Jung. Steinbeck wrote that he created the story of The Pearl to address the themes of "human greed, materialism, and the inherent worth of a thing."
The Fleming & John song "The Pearl" was based on this story.