Kino, a poor Indianfisherman, lives on the Gulf of California with his wife Juanaand son Coyotito. Their simple hut is made of brush, and thecouple sleeps on mats thrown on the dirt floor, whileCoyotito sleeps in a hanging box. Like others in their poorvillage, they depend on nature for survival. As The Pearlbegins, dawn is breaking. Kino watches the sun rise andlistens to the sounds of the morning. But within moments, adangerous situation develops. A poisonous scorpion stingsCoyotito, Kino’s infant son, and the baby’s screams drawpeople from all over the village. Juana insists that the doctorbe called, but Kino knows the physician is Spanish andconsiders himself above treating poor Indians. This does notsatisfy Juana, who announces that if the doctor will not cometo the village, then they will go to his house. But the doctorrefuses to treat Coyotito because Kino is too poor. Laterthat day, while Kino and Juana are fishing in the Gulf, Kinofinds an enormous pearl and cries out in joy. He believes thepearl will make him rich and enable him to provide securityfor his family. But Kino discovers otherwise. The pearl stirsenvy in the villagers, and that night Kino is attacked in his hutby a thief. The following day, he tries to sell the pearl tobuyers in town, but he is offered only a small amount ofmoney for it. The buyers all work for the same man. Theyknow the pearl is worth a fortune but hope to buy it cheaplyby pretending that it is worth little. Kino says he will sell hispearl in the capital city, where he believes he will get a fairprice. This amazes the villagers because Kino has nevertraveled so far. After dark that evening, Kino is attackedagain. Juana is sure the pearl is evil and will destroy thefamily. During the night, she quietly removes it from the spotwhere Kino has hidden it and tries to throw it back into theocean. He stops her before she succeeds and beats her fortrying. As he returns to the hut, Kino is attacked again, thistime by two men. He kills one of them, and the otherescapes. Because of the killing, Kino knows that he will behunted as a murderer. As a result, he and Juana must leavethe village the next morning. However, before they canescape their canoe is destroyed and their hut is burned. Theyhide until the next night in the hut of Kino’s brother, JuanTomas. The following evening, Kino and Juana begin theirjourney to the capital. Soon they realize they are beingfollowed by three people, so they flee up the mountain andhide in a small cave. Their followers set camp in a clearingjust below the cave. Kino decides the only way to survive isfor him to kill the person on guard, take his rifle, and kill theother two, who are sleeping. Kino goes to the followers’camp and is about to attack them when his son Coyotitocries out. Kino knows that he must act immediately upon hisenemies, but he is a second too late and one of them shootstoward the cave. There is a struggle and Kino kills all threeof his enemies. The earlier shot has killed Coyotito. Thefollowing afternoon the villagers witness the return of Kinoand Juana, carrying the rifle and their dead child. Without aword to anyone, they walk through the village to the shore.
Kino lays down the rifle, takes out the pearl, and throws itinto the sea. It is difficult to get to know the characters inThe Pearl in the same way you might get to know thecharacters in other novels. They say very little, and you seethem in few situations. Their actions seem to be based moreon ancient habits than on free choice. Like in one of his otherbooks that I have reed, Of Mice and Men, the characterswere not developed thoroughly and stood as more ofsymbols than actual characters in the story. However, thestrong symbolization made by the pearl is a great asset to thestory. The pearl in the story has a strong allegorical messageto the reader about human greed. Kino becomes a symbolof the poor but happy man who is destroyed when hebecomes obsessed with his wantings of the material world.
The pearl that was supposed to bring him happiness andcontentment brings him only death and destruction. At theend of the, both Kino’s dream and his son are dead.
Category: Book Reports