Whatever your situation is there will always be that one person consistently pushing you down and their constant berating urges you to stop. Even no matter how strong you struggle to block them out. They will always be in the back of your head being a persistent nuisance reminding you of your failures. Sometimes we have to admit we can’t win at everything and most of the time we give up. But if we prevail and push through, we may not get the upper hand, but it’s sometimes enough to recognize it’s not for the lack of effort. In John Steinbeck’s The Pearl the colonists higher education and self-righteous attitude gives them the tools needed to seize control of the native’s economic condition, healthcare, and feelings of self-importance.
The main contrast between the native people and the colonists is there are feelings of inequality preventing both races from seeing the other race as an equal. As Kino’s son Coyotito is becoming sick because of a scorpion bite, Kino takes his family to the city to hopefully seek aid from the doctor and as “They came to the place where the brush houses stopped and the city began, the city of harsh outer walls and inner cool gardens where a little water played and the bougainvillea crusted the walls with purple and brick-red and white.” (8) This reveals that the colonists hold down the native people and no matter how hard the native people try. The natives will never be matched to the colonists, at least in the colonist’s eyes. Another reason it indicates the split of race and unfairness is when the colonists feel they are better than the native people and force their authority upon them. For example, as Kino sees the doctor his malice and emotion rushes back to him. It triggers thoughts of anger and powerlessness like “The doctor was not of his people, the doctor was of a race which for nearly four hundred years had beaten, and robbed, and deprived Kino’s race, and frightened it too so that the indigent came humbly to the door.”(9) Although the doctor is a colonist and bitterly despises kino. Kino is willing to put aside his opinions to give a sliver of a chance to save Coyotito. This proves that the line of racial discrimination doesn’t just sprout on the surface of both communities but instead, the bitterness and fear run deep through Kinos and the native’s heritage. Both examples from the text show in great detail it’s a complicated wall between the colonists and native people and has been going on for four centuries ever since the colonists imposed their force among the native people.
Because of these differences in power and in race, it sets the colonists up to hold the advantage of the native people by having an attitude of snobbiness and self-righteousness. They trick the native people because the natives have no success stories and are uneducated. A mean by which the colonists reach the position over the natives is by buying the native people’s pearls for cheap prices. Tricking the pearl drivers into thinking they are having a genuine business exchange. But the reality is “There [is] only one pearl buyer with many hands, and the men who s[i]t in their offices and wait for Kino kn[o]w what price they w[ill] offer, how high they w[ill] bid, and what method each w[ill] use”(42). This shows that the pearl buyers thought they were making honest money for their pearls. But actually, the colonists are cheating them and taking advantage of the profit of the pearl buyers by using their vulnerability against them. The colonists take advantage from the native people by being more educated. So the native people do not question the colonist’s motives because they believe that the colonists are richer and better off. Then that must mean that whatever they’re doing has to be right. An instance of this is when the doctor comes to visit Kino’s hut because he has heard of Kino having the pearl and all he wants is to manipulate Kino into giving him money. When the doctor shows up to apparently save Coyotito from being poisoned from the scorpion bite “Kino got suspicious, and [will] not take his eyes off from the doctor’s open bag, and from the bottle of white powder there. Gradually the spasms [subside] and the baby relaxes under the doctor’s hands. And then Coyotito sigh[s] deeply and [goes] to sleep, for he [is] very tired with vomiting.”(35) This shows that although Kino suspects the doctor’s intentions to be wrong, he can not contradict what the doctor is doing because his son’s life depends on it. Kino also believes that the doctor knows better than he does and anything Kino tells the doctor will be taken as stupidity. Both cases show how easily the native people can be manipulated to the colonist’s needs. Even though the native people and kino know something is up, they are afraid to speak up because they think since the colonists are more educated and are successful than whatever they say must be right and the native people must be wrong.
These advantages the colonists use against the natives puts the natives at disadvantage such as making the pearl divers believe they are getting a fair price for their pearls. But instead what’s really going on is that they are being played and cheated. Putting them at an economic disadvantage. Another disadvantage that the natives are suffering is falling into the trap of believing whatever the colonists say or do must be right because the natives believe since the colonists are educated than they must mean that are right and therefore are better than the natives. Like when the priest tells Kino “Thou art named after a great man and a great father of the church. “ Thy namesake tamed the desert and sweetened the minds of thy people, didst though know that? It is in the books”(27) Although the priest is well aware of the fact that kino cant read he says how Kino’s name is in the books, making Kino feel uneducated even more. Flipping the balance of power in Kino’s own hut makes Kino feel weak. Then the priest implies that kino is named after a father of the church trying to guilt trip kino into giving money to the church. This is a good example of how the colonists have all the power and force the natives not to question the system. As the colonists constantly manipulate the natives through their higher education and self-righteous attitude, it puts the natives at a disadvantage affecting their economy, healthcare, and there self-importance
The natives are taken advantage of by being played by the colonists who use their power and higher class by implying that they are smarter and wealthier, therefore, they must be right. Setting the natives up for failure even if they disagree because of how the colonists are so heavily involved in the native’s lives. Kino shows that sometimes there is no happy ending even if there is a solution to solve the problems that are facing you. Because the colonists play such an important role in the natives lives that if the natives wanted to question the system, they would half to sacrifice their lives they worked so hard for.