The Pearl

A Dollar Cannot Buy a Smile: Riches vs. Happiness in 'The Pearl' 8th Grade

What is greed? Should family be sacrificed in return of money? Does greed ruin a person? These are all questions that are answered in the book, The Pearl, by John Steinbeck. In The Pearl, a simple man named Kino, and his wife Juana, risk their lives to protect a pearl which they believe can ultimately cure their sick son. While some may say that money can buy happiness, John Steinbeck's narrative suggests that money cannot buy happiness because money can destroy a family and money makes people a target for evil.

After Kino obtains the pearl, Steinbeck shows that money can destroy a family. Kino wakes up in the middle of the night after hearing Juana leave their house, planning to throw the pearl in the ocean. Kino reacts swiftly to protect his wealth because he believes it will bring him happiness: “He struck her in the face with his clenched fist and she fell among the boulders, and he kicked her in the side.” (Steinbeck 76). The pearl caused Kino to physically abuse Juana. This does the opposite of making the couple happy. Towards the end of the book, Kino begins to realize the effects of having the pearl. He is looking at the pearl when he realizes the trouble that it has caused him: “And in the surface of the pearl he saw...

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