The Pearl

Why did Steinbeck include the first section about life in the gulf waters?

Chapter two

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Steinbeck includes the first section about life in the Gulf waters to detail the extreme poverty in which Kino and Juana live; not only can they not afford their own canoe so that Kino may perform his job as a pearl diver, they must use a canoe that is several generations old. This is important, for it gives greater weight to the discovery of the pearl, which could raise them from a meager existence into some sense of security.