John Steinbeck in his parable-like novel The Pearl embraces the dark power of greed, which ultimately results in destruction. Kino, a simple Mexican pearl diver who provides for his wife Juana and baby boy Coyotito, finds a pearl, which he hopes will provide his family a better life, but instead shatters his life when his only child is killed by the men who are hunting him. Using a biblical style, uncomplicated language, and rich imagery, Steinbeck relates this story to universal values. In The Pearl, animal imagery is an essential motif that infiltrates the structure of the novel. Steinbeck utilizes animal imagery to foreshadow Kino’s catastrophe, to illustrate Kino’s character decline, and to symbolize the corruption of civilization.
Initially, the motif of animal imagery is used to predict the tragedy that comes to Kino. For instance, while Kino is observing the beautiful, peaceful morning, he examines a vulnerable ant ensnared in a set by an ant lion “with the detachment of God” (pg 3).
This demonstrates that Kino, like the feeble ant, will be harassed by sadistic predators. This imagery also confirms that Kino cannot anticipate assistance from God. Furthermore, “it would be a clumsy fight” for the roosters that Kino was watching near the brush fence because “they were not game chickens” (pg 4).
Symbolism embodies an abstract idea or concept by using an object or character. In the parable, The Pearl, Steinbeck uses symbolism extensively to create and develop the novel’s themes. The pearl of the book’s title is a symbol, which develops from a paradise of hopes and dreams, to a destructive centre of evil. The key symbol of the pearl generates the theme of the destructive nature ...
This foreshadows the awkward fight Kino will have with the pearl because it is evil and will not consent to fulfilling Kino’s happiness. This also shows that Kino is not skilled in selling the pearl and is not acquainted with the pearl buyers tactics. The most dramatic illustration of this motif is when the “scorpion moved delicately down the rope toward the box” where Coyotito, Kino’s son, is sleeping (pg 5).
The scorpion could whip up his tail in a flash of time, which indicates how simply everything can turn for the worst. This imagery is an example of the evil of the pearl and how it could attack Kino and his family at any second.
John Steinbeck also uses the motif of animal imagery to demonstrate Kino’s character deterioration in The Pearl. For example, when the “thin, timid dog came close and, at a soft word from Kino, curled up, arranged its tail neatly over its feel,” Kino was experiencing a perfect morning in his little hut (pg 3).
This represents how kind and welcoming Kino is at the beginning of the novel before the evil of the pearl distorts his outlook on life. Kino was willing to share the warmth of his home with a creature in need, and he looked out for other people beside himself before the pearl. After Kino found the pearl, “the thin dog came to him and threshed itself in greeting like a windblown flag, and Kino looked down at it and didn’t see it” (pg 28).
Apparently, Kino now possesses the pearl, and his life is already beginning to change for the worse. All Kino can see at the moment is the pearl and its beauty; he cannot even acknowledge the same thin dog that came to his home for warmth earlier in the story. Finding the pearl has turned Kino evil and against everyone, even his own wife at whom “he hissed at her like a snake” (pg 60).
Juana was trying to save her family by destroying the pearl, but it only made Kino’s yearning to discover happiness in the pearl even stronger. Kino has become a snake filled with the greed of the pearl.
The most significant aspect of this motif, however, is the corruption of the town. For example, “heard from the secret gardens was the singing of caged birds” (pg 8).
This signifies how the doctor treated the people of the village. They were unable to receive any medical help if they were poor, so they were confined in their own little cage. Moreover, when Kino is attempting to sell his pearl, “the pearl buyer’s eyes had become as steady and cruel and un-winking as a hawk’s eyes” (pg 48).
The Peal by John Steinbeck, a story of a man, his wife, their baby, and greed. Kino, the man, had no need for money, he was happy with the little things he had. A brush house, a sleeping mat, a canoe, and a family, thats all he needed, until his son was in danger and needed medical treatment and Kino found The Pearl. When Kino held the pearl for the first time he began to want, and his wants ...
In this quote, the pearl buyer is compared to a hawk, which is an evil bird. This represents how malicious the pearl buyer is to Kino, and that he will try to cheat Kino. As a result of the pearl buyers trickery, Kino plans to sell his pearl at the capital, and on the way, “some large animal lumbered away, crackling the undergrowth as it went” by Kino (pg 69).
This symbolizes how clumsy the village people have acted when attempting to steal the pearl from Kino. The fact that the whole village wanted to pilfer Kino’s pearl illustrates how malevolent and greedy they have all become.
John Steinbeck embellished the theme of greed by the use of animal imagery in The Pearl. The poor Mexican diver Kino realized how one mistake could destroy your whole life. The greed in the novel caused much destruction, and it robbed Kino of his humanity and his son. Animal imagery in this book was an essential motif that Steinbeck used to foreshadow Kino’s tragedy, to show Kino’s character decline, and to symbolize the corruption of civilization. This motif emphasized the human desire for perfection, which deprives people from reaching their full potential.