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The Theme

The Pearl by John Steinbeck is the story of an intrepid man named

Kino and the dilemma that he goes through when he finds a pearl. For the

diver Kino, finding a magnificent pearl means the promise of a better life

for his impoverished family. This dream blinds him with a greed and

initiates the events leading to a terrible tragedy. Stieinbeck’s theme for this

book is to not let greed overtake you.

Kino’s family suffered much hardship before they found the pearl.

All he ever wanted was to be rich and live the great life, watch his baby grow

up and learn to read the books. “My son will read and open the books, and

he will write and he will know the writing.” When Kino find the pearl…

“his emotion broke over him.” He now found the one thing that would

make him happy. He believed that since he had a pearl he could have all

the things he ever wanted or desired. After buying new clothes he had

planned to marry Juana, but it was not to be. Having all this power drove

him mad. Kino thought that he could handle this power, but he could not.

He did not realize that this great gift could result in death not just to his own

heart, but to other people around him. This eventually happens when Kino

kills a man who was watching him and his wife on the beach. The

only reason Kino killed the man was because Kino thought that the man

was after his pearl. Kino kills another victim only this time it is his very own

son. Eventhough the death of his son was very traumatic for Kino, he and

Juana traveled back to his village and threw the pearl back into the sea.

Kino now knows that his impetuous thought of wealth leads to nothing but

disaster.


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