The Pearl

what is a parable and why do you suppose Steinback calls our attention to this in his preface

Chapter 1

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Parables were often used by Jesus in the Bible; they instruct, teach moral lessons, and religious principles.

Steinbeck's story is indeed a moral lesson....... its main lesson has to do with greed, but it also largely focuses on class and oppression; these being the reason the pearl is so important.