The Pearl

The Pearl

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TEENREVIEWBOARD
Jul 02, 2020

The Pearl by Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck begins with one of the most picturesque, idyllic scenes in literature: a young pearl diver Kino awaking at dawn, gazing lovingly at his wife Juana and their baby son Coyotito, listening to the sounds of the sea. Of course, then, with the entrance of a great pearl, things start spiraling downward. About halfway through the novella, it is already clear that Kino has lost more than what he can regain with the pearl. Yet what is it inside humans, whose greed Kino represents, that spurs them to keep going, in pursuit of something luring and foreign that has cost them so much already? The novella teaches that the ability to be content, the ability to restrain oneself in the possibility of more wealth, is incredibly difficult, perhaps impossible, to gain. I couldn’t help feeling personally afraid for Kino and his family, as he clung to the dreams that the pearl reflected for him, trying to convince himself that the pearl could help him gain back happiness. Simple yet powerfully written, The Pearl is a novella deserving of all its accolades, sharply insightful and wise especially in these times of increased wealth and greed. 5 stars out of 5 -@StarRead of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

w
wyenotgo
Jun 23, 2020

With apologies to all those eminent commentators (whose credentials in the judgment of literary merit greatly exceed my own) I beg to differ: Not on the merit of Steinbeck’s prose but on the validity of his parable. As with many folk tales or fables, this one is an over-simplification, focused only on its chosen message: the corrupting influence of wealth; that acquiring wealth will destroy a man. It’s a false concept. The prospect of wealth causes Kino only to dream of a better life for his infant son and he goes to great lengths in attempting to make that dream a reality. That desire does not corrupt Kino. He does NOT become an evil person!
The real story here is the corruption that already surrounds Kino and his little family and that corruption does not derive from the pearl; it was there to begin with and remains unchanged. The depth of the doctor’s corruption is truly monumental and disgusting. The fake pearl buyers are hardly any better. And of course wherever there’s the prospect of wealth, there are thieves.
So the tale becomes depressingly predictable. Kino and his family were, from the beginning, victims of a corrupt society and remain so. End of story. The pearl changes nothing.
Steinbeck, given his legendary skill, saves this fable from being a boring, formulaic read. He brilliantly captures the atmosphere of the pearl-fishers’ poverty-stricken little community. His characters resonate with humanity, one can feel them sweat and breathe in the tropical air. Only in his depiction of the doctor does Steinbeck overdo it, but that is forgivable; the story needs a true villain, so why not pull out all the stops!

1
1aa
Oct 28, 2019

A novella that has many aspects of the story undeveloped (like, where is the law? where and when did this occur?); the basic plot is rather stereotypical: a poor person suddenly gets rich (or in this case gets something of great economic value), and is beset by deceivers, thieves and thugs, the most heinous of which are the wealthy, with the upshot that wealth isn't all its cracked up to be, and it might be better to remain poor.

m
MKBrosnihan
Oct 26, 2019

Very good. Very sad but then show me a Steinbeck book that is happy. He writes about life not sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. Life isn't happy and that what he writes about. very good!

s
Suki_Skywalker
Jun 04, 2019

This book is LITERATURE, but it has quite a sad ending........
It does show what the thought of possible wealth can do to someone.
l do recommend it to people with a love of rich writing $.$
personally, l didn't really enjoy it, but it is something lots of other people would like ^-^

v
violet_dog_12420
Apr 22, 2019

has a really sad ending.

b
Bookworm1562
Apr 14, 2019

I marvel at Steinbeck's genius. Sure there are possible philosophical themes. But you can just enjoy his writing.

a
Andrew Kyle Bacon
Nov 01, 2017

The writing is incredibly lucid and potent, which alone makes this novella worth reading. The film lacks in depth in places but tries to feign depth with its subject matter. The final chapters especially end up feeling a bit silly for some reason, probably because Steinbeck tries so hard to be poignant with the narrative. I enjoyed reading the book, and I understand why it is a required reading in many high schools, but even Steinbeck's beautiful use of language cannot save this narrative from trying just a bit too hard.

r
ReadingRainBro
Oct 13, 2015

"The Pearl" serves as a reminder about what is important in life. Like "Of Mice and Men", it is also beautifully sad.

m
msemos
Jul 26, 2015

straight forward writing style without a lot of character development. Steinbeck takes to a Mexican village quickly and sets forth the impact on a man of the greed from acquiring wealth. worth a read

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violet_dog_12420
Dec 04, 2018

violet_dog_12420 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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mauve_monkey_41
Jul 14, 2012

mauve_monkey_41 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 99

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yellow_whale_97
Jun 03, 2015

My son shall go to school

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