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Images, Symbolism And Luck In The Pearl

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Steinbeck repeatedly uses repetitive images throughout the Pearl to help convey the theme of how luck can lead to negativity and evil. On the first night, when Kino took possession of the pearl, he seemed to be worried about what was about to happen. Then, suddenly, an intruder entered the house, and “Kino held his breath to listen, and he knew that all the dark things in his house also held their breath to listen. Kino may have thought he imagined a sound. But Juana's hand crept up to him with a warning, and then the sound came again! A whisper on dry ground and a scratch on fingers on the ground.

Darkness universally symbolizes evil and the enemy. It seems that Kino knows that something bad can happen because of how the attacker is described as a “dark thing”. Potential value the pearl lured the enemy into the house of Kino. The next day, Kino and his brother, Juan Thomas, went to sell the pearl of Kino. The narrator claims that “Kino stared into the darkness of the small office because his eyes were clamped from the outside view. But the buyer's eyes became as steady, cruel and unblinking as the eyes of a hawk, and the rest of his face smiled in greeting ” Although the face of the pearl buyer seemed friendly and hospitable, in the depths of his eyes the darkness and evil of the enemy are transmitted. The pearl shopper's shop is also darker inside than outside, as it is described as dim. Kino knows that pearl buyers may try to cheat and use it to their advantage. The negative power of the pearl brought Kino to evil buyers. Early in the morning, Kino catches Juan going to the ocean with a pearl. Kino hits Juana and takes the pearl from her before she can throw her into the ocean. Then he meets more people who are after a magnificent pearl. Steinbeck writes: “He heard a rush, pulled out a knife and rushed to one dark figure, felt his knife go home, and then he was lifted to his knees and piled to the ground again. Greedy fingers passed over his clothes, insane figures searched him, and the pearl, knocked out of his hand, winked after a stone on the path . The enemy was attracted to a pearl, a pearl that was supposed to bring good fortune to Kino and his family, but in fact brought only evil and darkness. Dark figures symbolize enemies who chased Kino for a pearl. This is how Steinbeck uses imagery to illustrate a topic that luck can bring well-intentioned people to the path of evil and negativity.

Steinbeck continues to develop the theme that luck can inadvertently bring evil and negative, using symbolic values ​​in many places in history. When Kino and his family return to their modest shrubs, finding a magnificent pearl

In the world of Kino begins to imagine what he is going to use the wealth of pearls. Kino believes that all his hopes and dreams can now become a reality thanks to his new wealth. The narrator claims “But Kino’s face shone with prophecy. Son My son will read and open books, and my son will write and will know how to write. And my son will make the numbers, and these things will make us free, because he will know - he will know, and through him we will know. ” And in the pearl, Kino saw herself and Juana squatting by a small fire in a hut when Coyotito was reading from a great book. “This is what a pearl will do,” said Kino . Kino plans to use the money from the pearls to pay for Coyotito education, which in turn will help the social status of the whole family. He is also planning a wedding for himself and Juana, a rifle, new clothes and a better life. At this point in history, Kino’s intentions that come from the value of a magnificent pearl are strictly principles that are meant for the good of his family. His plans for a pearl are all his family needs, not what they want. Kino and Juana get married because it makes their family official. Their son needs a good education so that he, like Kino and Juan, can have a social status associated with higher education. Kino needs a rifle so that he can protect and provide food for his family. New clothes may seem less important, but for them it is a question of cleanliness, because in the Kino family there are only rags for clothes. Later in this story, Kino, Juana and Coyotito hurriedly head for the city, and Kino thinks about his plans for living with pearl money.

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Steinbeck writes: “He looked into his pearl to find his vision. “When we finally sell him, I’ll have a rifle,” he said, and he looked at the shiny surface of his rifle, but he saw only a dark body on the floor, with shiny blood dripping from his throat. And he quickly said, 'We will be married in the great church. ' And in the pearl he saw Juana with her battered face crawling home all night. “Our son must learn to read,” he said passionately. And there on Coyotito's pearly face, thick and febrile with drugs ”

At this stage in the story, Kino realizes his gloomy forecast for the future very well and begins to think about all the good ideas that he intended to bring to life, for pearls, but now he cannot see them clearly. Kino is trying to remember all those good things that he was so excited that the pearl did for his family, but while he looks at her, he can only see all the evil and misfortune that the pearl brought to his poor family. Using the lens of New Formalism, this is how Steinbeck uses images to develop symbolism to convey the theme that good fortune can lead people with good intentions to the path of evil and negative.

Steinbeck illustrates the theme that luck and wealth can lead to evil through music. At the beginning of the novel, Kino finds the greatest pearl in the world, and at this very moment it seems that the luck of his family is established. “Kino held a large pearl in his hand, and in his hand it was warm and alive. And the music of the pearl merged with the music of the family, so that one decorated the other. The neighbors looked at the pearl in Kino’s hand, and they wondered how such luck could come to anyone ”(Steinbeck 29). The music symbolizes how Kino and his family feel happy and happy in their search for the pearl and what this can mean for their future. Kino is glad to have found the magnificent pearl of the world. Kino cannot believe that he was lucky to find a pearl, and he feels that nothing could be better for his future. He thinks about how this pearl will help his family. Later in the story, Kino looks at the pearl, trying to see his original good intentions that came with him, but now he sees only the negative and unhappiness that the pearl has brought. The narrator states: “And Kino thrust the pearl back into his clothes, and the music of the pearl became ominous in his ears, and it was interwoven with the music of evil ”.

Music symbolizes how a pearl really is a negative force and brought nothing but evil to Kino and his family. Kino is beginning to realize that, although the pearl seemed to bring good luck to his family, she really did bring only evil. Although it takes almost the whole story to get there, Kino finally realizes that his wife Juana tried to explain. Now they both want their lives back to how they were before they found the magnificent pearl. Kino ends up throwing the pearl back into the ocean, from where it came from, “and the music of the pearl reached for a whisper and disappeared” . The music disappears and then disappears when the pearl plunges back into the ocean, symbolizing evil and darkness leaving the family. In other words, the pearl is gone from their lives, like the evil that tormented them. For Kino, it becomes clear that his luck in finding a big pearl really only brought misfortune and caused physical and emotional damage to himself and his family. Steinbeck uses music to express a theme that good luck can lead well-intentioned people to the path of evil and negativity.

Often in modern society, people endanger their good values ​​and can make bad decisions when they get lucky. Many people think that they will be able to control themselves and stay on their principled path even in the face of newfound wealth. However, even if they are a person who has a clear understanding of their true priorities, they can still deviate from the path of good intentions. In the novel “The Pearl” by John Steinbeck, the author uses images, symbolism and music, which generally convey the theme of the story that luck can bring the most innocent people to the path of evil and negative. From the author, you can learn that it is important to work diligently so that materialism does not affect personal values ​​and integrity.

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Images, Symbolism And Luck In The Pearl. (2021, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 4, 2023, from
“Images, Symbolism And Luck In The Pearl.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2021,
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Images, Symbolism And Luck In The Pearl [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Aug 25 [cited 2023 Dec 4]. Available from:
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