After a scorpion stings Coyote, Kink’s only child, he prays that he could find a pearl to pay for the doctor’s fees. After many long hours of searching the sea floor, Kink finds a spectacular pearl , one that only dreams are made of. At first, Kink only wants to pay the doctor’s fees and cure his son. However, as time passes Kink begins to think of all the wonders he can have with the money he’ll get when he sells the pearl. He thinks of his son Coyote going to school.
Kink feels that his son should be educated and not illiterate like the rest of the people in the village. He feels that he has an improved status in society and so he should be treated as a rich man would be. Kink is also very eager to list the many things he wants to obtain with his new found fortune. One of the items is a rifle because it will show to the rest of the people of the village that he has power. Whilst Kink thinks of all the riches he will have, he begins to become greedy and selfish and lose touch with the more important things in life, his family.
When Kink takes the pearl to the pearl buyers, it is a great event and everybody in the village wants to know how much he is going to sell it for and what personal gain they will get from It. Kink is offered one thousand pesos for the pearl by the pearl buyers but he is furious with the offer and declines it, once again showing his greed. His reaction shows the reader that the pearl is changing Kink. The pearl is now not only for the use of saving Coyote anymore, even though the child is feeling better. It is about personal gain.
Although Kink is offered one thousand pesos for the pearl, he wants fifty thousand because he claims it is “the pearl of the world. ‘ This further shows his greed. Later in the novel when Juan is caught by Kink trying to destroy the pearl, Kink, the once caring husband, beats her because he believes that he can win this struggle against the pearl and the evil it brings. Juan forgives Kink because she realizes that he is losing touch with reality. She also forgives him because she is a strong level -headed woman that is not blinded by greed and is needed by Kink to help him overcome this obstacle, the pearl.
Kink claims, however, that he is half-insane and half god, thus showing that he is losing he qualities that define him as a man. When a man attacks Kink in order to steal the pearl, Kink defends himself and ends up killing the man. This is the point when Kink is totally overcome with greed and he is ready to kill for the sake of having the pearl in his possession. When Kink is getting ready to attack the trackers, he has now been transformed from a kind and loving father and husband to a beast. When Coyote is killed by the trackers, Kink is transformed into a killing machine.
Finally, when Kink returns to La Pas with Juan, Steinbeck creates a sense that Kink and Juan have been hunted like animals. This relates to Kink’s transformation in chapter 6, from man to animal to protect himself and his family. Kink then realizes the effect the pearl has had on him. He returns with one possession that he has desperately wanted, a rifle, but he has lost his child and therefore rejects the pearl. Kink has paid a huge price and his endeavor with the pearl has made him learn an important lesson. Greed should not blind us from the important things in life such as family, health, and life itself.