The Pearl by John Steinbeck

What kind of people do you think Kino and his wife are? First of all, Kino and his family seem to be poor people because we can see in the text that they have a quite bad standard of living: they live in a brush house, the baby sleeps in a hanging box, there ants in the house, they are not protected from wild and dangerous animal as the scorpion which stung Coyotito, they do not have enough money to get a treatment for the baby… We can also notice that Kino and his family are Indians.

Indeed the doctor call them like this and the author himself speak about the Kino’s “race” but without saying which one it is. It seems to be different races where Kino lives. Another indication which makes us think that they are from another culture is when Juana is summoning magic when the baby is stung. What ideas do you get about them living in a “brush house” near a “tuna clump”? Once again, it gives us the impression that they live in a poor place.

Indeed the brush house suggests that they might have built their house themselves. It says in the first page: “he looked first at the lightening square which was the door”. This shows us that there is no door in Kino’s house or that that the light can pass through it. What can we conclude from what we’ve learnt so far? Basically, we learnt that Kino and his family seem to be quite poor living in a slum in a kind of shanty town aside from the real town.

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We do not know exactly what they do for living but they seem to have a simple and monotone life which does not enable them to provide themselves basic essentials such as paying a doctor for their baby for example. Soundless, internal songs are important to Kino. What do you think that might tell us about him? Internal songs are maybe important to Kino because these animate a little bit his monotonous life: these help him to not be bored by the routine of his life. We learn that these songs are old songs and each of them represents the different feelings that Kino could have.

Indeed when he wakes up and sees his wife doing the daily preparation, he heard the “Song of Family” and when he is enraged when he goes to the doctor, there are other songs in his head which correspond with this feeling. These songs tell us about Kino that he is a quiet man and he must be quite sensitive too if he can feels his emotions so much that he hear songs which correspond with each feeling. How these differ from your family morning routines? First Juana wait that her husband wakes up, then she wake up her son.

After this she prepares the breakfast for Kino, takes care of the house then she can take her breakfast. In primitive society, women prepare the meal for the husband because he needs to work, then they must take care of the children and the home and finally take care of themselves meanwhile in our modern society, tasks and jobs are shared between men and women. How would you describe Kino’s attitude to the life around him? Kino is young and strong which explains that he is a pearl diver. We can also say that he is dark skinned (“the brown forehead”).

Kino also has a warm, fierce and bright gaze. He seems to like his life even if he is not very demonstrative: the Song of the Family shows that he is a family man and even if he is not rich, he has all basics essentials. Does this seem a calm and happy family? Yes it seems to be a happy family because Kino and Juana love each other and they have a son that they love too. Once again the Song of the Family can prove to us that it is a peaceful and happy family. 8. Kino and Juana don’t speak to each other much but the author says this isn’t a sign of discontent.

Does silence between two people usually indicate happiness or unhappiness, in your experience? In my opinion, conversation and communication between two people depend on the characters of the two people. Sometimes the fact that people don’t speak together might mean that do not like each other but it can also be a sign of harmony between the to people and therefore do they do not have to talk or to argue. This is the case of Kino and Juana. Kino notices about his wife that she does not look strong. Indeed she’s dependant and she is inferior to her husband, she is extremely patient and she has an iron will.

We see that she can also take initiatives far example when she says “get the doctor”. She looks weak and fragile but psychologically, she is as strong as Kino.  The changes in the way of living. There obviously no slums in Brussels and certainly no brush houses but there are of course, like in all big cities, rich areas and not so-rich-areas. For example the way of living in Uccle is very different from that of, for example, Scharbeek. The beggars know about the doctor. What do they know about him and how have they found this out?

The beggars were always watching and listening and therefore learnt a lot of people in the town. They knew the doctor, the fact that he was ignorant, liked money and carried out abortions, sometimes not very successfully. 10. When they arrive at the doctor’s door, Kino hesitates. What feelings sweep over him and why does he feel this way? He feels fear and anger obviously provoked by the fact that people of the doctor’s race considered people of Kino’s race as animals, especially at that time (when Steinbeck wrote The Pearl).

Fear because he was afraid that the doctor would turn him away and anger because it was not just. His anger manifested itself when he hit the iron gate so hard that he injured his hand after they were told to go away. By saying: “I am a doctor, not a veterinary”, the doctor obviously meant that these Indians who had come asking for help were nothing more than animals maybe because he is only racist or maybe because he really thought Indians were animals.

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The Pearl by John Steinbeck. (2017, Jul 12). Retrieved from

The Pearl by John Steinbeck
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