Home » John Steinbeck » The Pearl Materialism

The Pearl Materialism

Would you ever harm someone to get something you wanted? Well that is just what the doctor, faceless attackers, and Kino did in the novella The Pearl by John Steinbeck. Kino constantly is willing to do anything to protect his pearl, even if that means harming his own wife and baby and killing and or stabbing six people. Other people will try to harm Kino too, like the doctor, attackers and other selfish greedy people. Juana, Kino’s wife, tried to throw away the pearl, but Kino punched and kicked her.

He also stabbed three people that tried to take his pearl. Another thing is that he killed three pearl trackers with a rifle and caused his own baby to get shot. The author develops the theme that materialism and greed left unchecked, can lead to immoral behavior. The people that try to take the pearl are so greedy and jealous that they will attack Kino and his family to get it.

“The baby is nearly well now. ” Kino says to the doctor. “Oh I know the sting of the scorpion my friend, and I can cure it. ” The doctor answers. 30) The doctor knew Kino had the pearl and earlier in the story refused to treat the baby, but now he wants it and is going to poison the baby so Coyotito can get sick again and the doctor can treat him. Somebody may have knocked a hole in the bottom of Kino’s canoe because they knew he was going to sell it and they probably wanted it for themselves. “And when the light broke through again, he saw that a great hole had been knocked in the bottom. ” (61)

Someone probably burned his house down because they were jealous and wanted to bring harm to him and his family. He saw a little glow ahead of him and then without interval a tall flame leaped up in the dark with a crackling roar and a tall edifice of fire lighted the pathway. ” (63) Some people are so greedy and heartless that they take it out on Kino and his family. Kino will try to kill or hurt anyone who comes near his pearl. “He felt cloth, struck at it with his knife and struck again and felt his knife go through cloth and then his head crashed with lightning and exploded with pain. ” (39)

Kino heard someone in his house and instantly decided to take the life of someone who wanted his pearl. Kino lay on the ground struggling to rise, and there was no one near him. ” (56) Kino felt like someone was outside so he went out there, ready to kill, and got attacked all because he thought someone was after his pearl, which they probably were. “He heard the rush, got his knife out and lunged at one dark figure and felt his knife go home and then he was swept to his knees and swept again to the ground. ” (59) He just heard someone moving around and almost instinctively stabbed and killed a man.

Kino almost instinctively kills anyone who comes near his pearl and that is showing that the greed has led to immoral behavior. Kino will do anything to make life for his family better even if some of his family gets hurt because of that. “He struck her in the face with his clenched fist and she fell among the boulders, and he kicked her in the side. (59) Juana, Kino’s wife, tried to throw away the pearl because she felt like it was evil, but Kino strongly disagreed with her and was violent towards her because of what she did. I do not want to bring danger to you. ” (65)

Juan Thomas offered to take in the Kino’s but he knows the trackers will follow him. Kino did not actually bring danger or hurt Juan but there was a chance. The watcher knows the cry was not a coyote and he kills Coyotito. After Coyotito is dead, Kino realises he does not want the pearl anymore. “If it’s a coyote, this will stop it. ” (86) Even though Kino just wants the best for his family through the pearl, it brings out the worst in him and gives the opposite of the best for his family.

To sum up, materialism and greed left unchecked, can lead to immoral behavior and violence. The people that want the pearl for themselves will do anything to get it like attack Kino and his family. The pearl has made Kino into an animal because he almost instinctively kills anyone who tries to take his pearl. Kino will do anything to make life for his family better, even if by doing that, he hurts them. Kino and others have become so greedy and materialistic that they decided to hurt others to get it.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.