The Pearl: A Story of Injustice

Topics: Books

The novel is about Kino a pearl fisher and his family. One day, a scorpion stung his son Coyotito. The doctor refused to treat him because Kino is poor and no money. So Kino went for pearl fishing in the hope that it would pay for his son’s treatment. Kino found a pearl. The pearl buyers tried to cheat him and thieves attempted to kill him. Kino decided to escape with his family. Unfortunately Coyotito was killed. Kino and Juana returned home sadly and threw the pearl back into the sea.

My critical view of “The Pearl”.

John Steinbeck’s novel The Pearl is not an ordinary story. This is a story about a great pearl, a Mexican-Indian community, and great dreams. This book is wonderfully written by John Steinbeck in 1947. Through this novel, he tries to teach us a lot of moral values which are very important in our life. Through each character he expresses at least one moral value.

I like the way he describes the life style of the poor pearl fishers, their culture, settings of village and feelings of the characters.

When I read the book, I can imagine Kino, Juana and Coyotito, their brush house with wooden floor, food and clothing. I became deeply involved in this story. Thus I can feel how Kino and Juana suffered without money to treat Coyotito. In this way, Kino and Juana looked like simple, pitiful characters. However, Steinbeck uses them as examples of people who are suffering without wealth and who are looked down by the upper class.

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I love his ability to portray the feelings of the family. Especially, when Kino dreams to give his son proper education and a better life for Juana. Even though Kino appears to be hot tempered and stubborn but he never lets his family down. So this indicates how should the head of a family be. Besides Kino, Steinbeck also shows Juana’s character as a loving protective mother. When the doctor refused to treat Coyotito, she never gave up. She used seaweed poultice on Coyotito’s wound, and this indicates how great a loving mother is. Steinbeck also shows Juana as a devoted wife, even though Kino used to beat and scold her.

This novel of Steinbeck also tells us, how the Mexican-Indians are being ill-treated. He also reminds me of how greedy people can be. Just to get the pearl they can do anything. Here Steinbeck uses the thieves and doctor as examples of people who are greedy for the pearl. In fact he shows Kino turned to be o fierce, wild and slotted man in order to protect the pearl and his family.

I believe that the love for money is the root of all evil and that John Steinbeck had this in mind when he wrote this novel. Overall the book is not only enjoyable to read, but educational too. I understand that greediness gives us nothing. I also learned how the Indians of Central America were treated by the Spanish. Besides, I understand the value of the family and love for each other. So, I would recommend this book to readers of all ages because it is very interesting, portrays cultural and moral values of any ethic community.

Three Different Blurbs

a) This novel by American writer John Steinbeck (1902-1968) is about a pearl diver Kino. When Kino finds an extra ordinary pearl, he hopes that it will change his life style. But later he regrets to find the evil pearl which causes a lot of trouble and kills his loving son.

b) The Pearl is very short but wonderful. It is based on Mexican old folk legend and inspired by John Steinbeck on 1948. A poor pearl diver dreams of wealth and happiness for his family when he finds a priceless pearl. Do his dreams become true? Read the Pearl to know the answer.

c) This book is an amazing parable of good and evil, and the destructive power of greed. Even though the book is small but it packs a powerful punch. Through this book Steinbeck try to teach a lesson about being greedy and stubborn. A good lesson for us to read. It is also an excellent example of cultural discrimination and inhumane treatment of others simply because of skin color and financial ability.

5.1 Definition of authorial critism

According to Dugal Williamson (1989), says that authorial critism is the kind of critism that produces the effect of authorial individually and effaces all other factors which contribute to the intelligibility of meaning. Directly or indirectly, the authorial critics put the author at the centre of a text meaning and ignore the techniques of composition which manipulate the way readers respond to the text. Authorial critism does not allow us to see that the text is a kind of a staging of representations of signifying gestures, informed by social knowledge’s and training.

5…2 Definition of neo-rhetorical critism

It is clear that Williamson’s motive is to move away from author-centered critism towards the kind of critism that focuses on techniques of representation. He wants to “kill off” the Romantic author so that we may see the textual elements working to produce the effect of meaning. As an alternative to authorial critism, Williamson proposes the neo-rhetorical critism be it genre or discursive analysis, enables us to see that all texts owe an unacknowledged debt to other text, that behind the appearance of originality, texts employ generic conventions in terms of narrative and structure and style, all of which admit both repetition and variation.

Analysis of my critical review

When I analyze my critical review on “The Pearl”, I think it is based on authorial criticism. From my understanding of authorial criticism is the kind of critic that produces the effect of authorial individuality and effaces all the factors which contribute to the intelligibility of meaning. Directly or indirectly the author is given very much emphasis at the centre of a text’s meaning. In contrast the techniques of writing which manipulate the way reader’s respond to the text is ignored. So in my critical review on “The Pearl” I did the same. I give more emphasis for the author. So my critical review was based on how the author describes the characters, plot, settings and feelings. And I never mentioned about how is the author’s techniques of writing, the language elements, genres, the similes, gestures, idioms that he used and so on.

This can be proofed in my critical review which has this line “I like the way he describes the life style of the poor pearl fishers, culture, setting and their feelings”.

Dugal Williamson posits four overlapping strategies of authorial criticism. I think I have to follow the first and third strategies. According to the first strategy we should avoid linking a particular novel with other novels by the author, should not be looking for patterns of aesthetic significance between the any novels of the author and should not compare this novel or that particular novel is more representative. In my critical review, I never linked the “Pearl” with any other novel of Steinbeck. I totally avoid all the factors mentioned in the first strategy. My review is fully based on author’s meaning or the message that he would like to converse. The third strategy of authorial criticism implies that we should avoid saying like this:-

Pearl is proof that John Steinbeck is a master of his material, and a writer in whom great talent abides”.

Instead, we may say:-

“The pearl implies or suggests or indicates and etc….”

There are differences between these two sentences. The first suggest that John Steinbeck is responsible for the coherence and unity of the pearl, while the second sentence implies that meaning of the text is constructed following certain protocols or critical interpretative. So I follow the second way which I put like this “she used seaweed poultice on Coyotito’s wound and this indicates how great is a mother.

Analysis of the selected online reviews

The review (a) by a reader named Fatima (refer to appendix 1) on the Pearl seems to be more neo-rhetorical criticism. This is because the reader talks about the plot and content the story. The reader has also interpreted his understanding of which the author is trying to say. So she talks more on the people, the culture and society. Only one line speaks of Steinbeck which says he consider elements of community and politic in his work. There is no major relation between the author and text. So I would say this more of new rhetorical criticism rather than an authorial.

The review (b) is written by a kid on 1st September 2004 (refer to appendix 2). According to my understanding, I think his review is more on new-rhetorical criticism rather than authorial. Because this reader also talks little bit about the main characters. The reader also compares this “Pearl” with other books of the author and says it is equally good. Besides, all of these the reader also mentions that Steinbeck is a literacy magician. This indicates that the reader try to highlight Steinbeck’s ability to describe the beautifulness of the nature. So this shows to me, that the reader try to mention the language style, literacy devices and the genres used by the author to describe it in real.

However, there are two lines in this readers review look like authorial criticism. The sentences are sounds like this “when Steinbeck describes Juana carrying the dead baby back into town in her dress I cried. When he writes it is as if you are watching a movie unfold inside of your head”. After analyzing the particular lines I noticed that they are more to authorial criticism. Because that lines show that the reader also interpreted his understanding of what the author is trying to convey and he become deeply involved in the seen. I think the reader try to tell us how wonderfully Steinbeck describes the feelings of a sad mother using his imaginative and literacy devices. So based on my analysis, I think this review is mixture of both rhetorical criticism and authorial criticism.

Through my analysis, I think the review (c) on the 14th May 2004 (refer to appendix 3) is also mixture of both new-rhetorical criticism and authorial criticism. Because the reader puts the author in the centre of the text. The reader says that “Steinbeck wasn’t trying to make you happy and have the book have a Hollywood ending. Steinbeck was trying to make a point “These mean the reader gives more emphasis for the author. The author is treated as the origin of a work’s form and meaning. Besides the author is also used as a principle of writing. Because the reader did not say that Steinbeck made the story very sad and touching. But he mentions it indirectly in those sentences.

This same reader’s also reflects the new-rhetorical criticism in his review. This can be proofed by the reader’s view of points which telling about Steinbeck’s style of writing and we would imagine something else when we read it. Not only these, the reader also says that Steinbeck used a lot of descriptions and a lot of similes. The reader also says there are sentences would stick to us like gum to the bottom of our shoe. So this indicates to me the language, genres and literacy devices that used by Steinbeck in his technique of writings.


I have always admired the beauty of pearl, but never known much about it. After reading the novel “Pearl” by Steinbeck, I realized the pearl is very great and valuable. It gives beauty and prestige for the people who own it. However this pearl also can change people to be greedy and selfish. This is clearly expressed by John Steinbeck in his novel “Pearl”. In addition, after reading the wonderful novel “Pearl”, my interest to know about the pearl increased.

Thus, I chose the “pearl” as my key word to look for information on internet and I found so many interesting articles about pearl. However there are two articles which interested me very much. There are the history of pearl and “American Pearls”.

It is very interesting to read the history of pearl. It gives me wonderful education and knowledge about the cultured pearl. Many thousands years ago, long before written history, pearl probably found by the humans while searching the seashore for food. Throughout history, the pearl with its warm inner glow and shimmering iridescences, has been one of the most highly prized and sought-after gems. Countless references to the pearl can be found in the religions and mythology of cultures from the earliest times.

The ancient Egyptians prized pearls were very great. Cleopatra reportedly dissolved a single pearl in a glass of wine and drank it, simply to win a wager with Mark Anthony that she could consume the wealth of an entire nation in just one meal. In ancient Rome, pearls were considered the ultimate symbol of wealth and social standing. Besides, there were many other histories of pearls.

The pearls were so highly regarded, a number of European countries actually passed laws forbidding anyone but the nobility to wear them. Well during the European expansion into the New York would, the discovery pearl in central American waters add to the wealth of Europe. Unfortunately, greed and lust for the sea-grown gems resulted in the depletion of virtually all the American Pearl oyster populations by the 17th Century. Until the early 1900’s natural pearls were accessible only to the rich and famous. In 1916, famed French jeweler Jacques Cartier bought his landmark store on New York’s famous Fifth Avenue by trading two pearl necklaces for the valuable property. But today, with advent of pearl cultivation, pearls are available and affordable to all.

The birth of pearl is really amazing. Pearls are grown by live oyster far below the surface of the sea. They are born from oysters completely with a shimmering iridescence, luster and soft inner glow unlike any other gem stones. A natural pearl begins its life as a foreign object, such as parasite of shell that accidentally lodges itself in an oyster’s soft inner body where it cannot expelled. The case this irritant, the oyster’s body takes defensive action. The oyster forms a substance nacre around the irritant in order to protect itself. As long as the irritant remains with its body, the oyster will continue to secrete nacre around it, layer upon layer. Over time, the irritant will be completely encased by the silky crystalline coating. And the result ultimately is the lovely and lustrous gem called a pearl.

Well the cultured pearl share the same properties as natural pearls. Oysters form cultured pearls in an almost identical fashion. The only difference is a person carefully implants their irritant in the oyster, rather than leaving it change. Modern pearl cultivation has become more selective. In Japanese pearl cultivation, highly skilled technicians carefully open live pearls oysters, and with surgical precision make an incision in the oyster’s body. Then the oysters will be sent to sea back and observed by the technicians. Later the oyster will produce layer after layer lustrous nacre around the nuclear implanted within them. During the period of the oyster will be given health and cleaning treatment. Over time, after many months of growth and cave, the oysters are ready for harvest. After harvesting, pearls must be stored by the size and quality. Finally, the experts will make the pearl jewelry.

However the article about “American Pearls” is also very knowledge and beneficial for me. This article describes about variefies of pearl. Pearl jewelry and clear explanations of the identity quality within each variety and customer service. Refer to appendix ( ) to view the picture American Pearl store is the direct connection to variety of cultured pearls from all over the world. The American Pearl provides all kinds of pearl jewelry. It offers the highest quality pearl which stands at the pearliest prices. American Pearl’s goals is to best provide customers with top quality service and help people to create memorable occasions such as birthdays, weddings, graduations, Valentine’s day and many more.

It also specialize is selling cultured pearl jewelry imported from all over the world. It has long established relationship with pearl farmers from Australia (white south sea pearls), Tahiti (black south sea pearls), Indonesia (golden south sea) and Japan (Akoyo). The American Pearl is the direct importer and make a market for south sea pearls at wholesale prices which are imply unrivaled.

Its gold smiths are well versed in designing the pearl jewelry appropriately according to the customers’ taste. Besides, American Pearl is the only source for Hawless pearls.


The novel Pearl by John Steinbeck is not only enjoyable but it also aroused, my interest to learn about the real oyster pearl and its history. I never knew there were cultured abalone pearls until I came across the internet online sources about pearl. The materials gave me wide range of explanation about pearls and the history. It has been wonderful education for me. Besides, I also learnt how to judge a book by reading the blurbs and other people’s reviews.

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The Pearl: A Story of Injustice. (2017, Dec 02). Retrieved from

The Pearl: A Story of Injustice
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