Greed in the Pearl Essay

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The pearl is a dream; it simply reflects what we deeply desire. It reflected what Kino desperately craved. I will be discussing kinos different perceptions throughout the novel, and how he slowly became corrupted by the pearl, which led to his moral downfall. My first argument would be how the doctor caused Kino to rethink his perceptions of the world, and how the doctor widened his perceptive in a debased way. My second argument would be how Kinos perceptions of the pearl made him a more violent and aggressive person, and how Kinos greed blinded him from what he already had which then led him to lose absolutely everything.

In this argument, I will be discussing how the doctor changed Kino, and how it changed his perception so quickly, which then led to Kino only focusing on the world's value system. Kino first perceived the world as complete. He was content with what he had. He viewed his life as “perfect among mornings” He did not have any material wealth, he simply had his family and he appreciated them. As soon as Kinos child had gotten stung by the scorpion “in his mind a new song had come, a song of evil.” The scorpion is a symbol of death. The song of evil appears to be stronger than the song of the family, as evil triumphs over good. So yes the scorpion does play an important role in this novel, as it is the start of a huge change in Kinos life. The doctor has made an even bigger impact on Kino, as he gives Kinos perspective a power boost. The role of a doctor is idolized; people view doctors as successfully educated beings. They are perceived as great as upstanding heroes. Kino, on the other hand, is not educated nor successful therefore he does not fit into the world's value system, and the world views people like Kino as less inferior or outclassed. Kino values the doctor’s culture over his own; as he respects the doctor because of the value the world gives to the doctor. “Have I nothing better to do than cure insect bites for 'little Indians'? I am a doctor, not a veterinary.” When learning that Juana and Kino have brought their son for treatment, the doctor's response shows his disregard for the indigenous people. He compares them to animals and mocks them, there was no care or empathy for the indigenous baby. The doctor has what the world values but still brings discontent. Kino looks up to the doctor; he strives for the type of lifestyle the doctor has. This makes him greedy. Yes, the doctor has material wealth, and approval from the world, but he doesn’t have the spiritual wealth Kino and his family endures. The doctor values stuff, not people. Kino sees the “vagueness of a dream” which is a mirage of wealth, and starts striving for that dream, although the doctor didn’t necessarily force Kino into thinking in that particular way, he did play an important role as to shaping kinos perceptions of the world and opening the doors of greed, which therefore changed his perspective.

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In this argument, I will be discussing how Kinos perceptions about the pearl led him into thinking and acting more aggressively, and how he is consumed by the pearl and the materiality and greed it represents, instead of appreciating what he already had. “The “music of the pearl has merged with the music of the family.” The song of the pearl represents greed and how it can corrupt a person. The song of the family, the song of evil, and the song of the pearl all represent Kinos perceptions. As read both the sound of the pearl and the sound of the family have been merged. Kino wants the pearl to benefit for his family, which reflects the song of the family. He also wants it for more materialist things mainly clothing. He knew that it was the “pearl of the world” and while that title originally refers to the pearls great size and beauty, it also underscores the fact that having a pearl brings the outside world's destructive influence into kinos simple life. It is “the pearl of what could be” he understands that the pearl will bring him wealth, which he can obtain an education for his son Coyotito, and thus a different life than he and his forefathers have had. In the pearl, Kino sees freedom from his life as a poor, insignificant exploited fisherman. “I am cheated, Kino cried fiercely.” Kino is trying to dominate with aggression as he hopes that the pearl will bring him freedom, the word “fiercely” used shows the violence coming out of him. Juana, on the other hand, has completely different views on the pearl, then Kino. She believes it brings evil, whereas Kino values it, as it is valuable. Kino regards them as “perfect as the moon.” He compares the pearl to the moon, but the moon itself is not glorious, it is only glorious because it can reflect the sun, in the same way, the pearl reflects the values of the world. The pearl itself is not a value; the value is how the world sees the pearl. It is “the pearl of what could be” because it is only a reflection. Kino then focuses only on the pearl, not on his family. The pearl was a “complete illusion” to Kino as it was simply a mirage of what he deeply desired. Civilization is an illusion, that’s why Kino thinks that the pearl as valuable and will bring happiness, but the reality is that it brings discontent. It’s just a dream that always keeps you wanting more. After a while, Kino becomes the enemy, and the pearl becomes the destruction. Kino is now prepared to kill to save the pearl, he now doesn’t value his family, he just values the pearl, as he is blinded by the pearl and doesn’t understand the destruction it holds. His greed for the pearl goes to the extent of killing. Kinos character and values are changing completely. When Juana said, “Kino…I am afraid. A man can be killed. Let us throw the pearl back into the sea.” He then says “hush,[he said fiercely]. I am a man. Hush.” This quote supports the idea because it shows the aggression he is starting to portray, mainly by the word “fiercely.” His wife realizes that the pearl holds evilness and danger, but Kino overcome by the greed the pearl brought him, insists that he can fight it. Therefore, Kinos greed and his perceptions of the pearl caused him to be a more violent person, which ultimately led to his downfall.

To conclude, Kinos perceptions of the doctor and the pearl reflected the change in him. He perceived the doctor has wealthy and successful, which made him greedy. His perceptions of the doctor led him into the world's value system and got him more absorbed of the thought of wealth. He became just like the doctor, which ultimately led to Kino’s change. The pearl on the other hand reflected what Kino desperately craved; he craved wealth, and approval from the world. It also reflected his anger and violence towards what he already had which is family. His attitude changed. He didn’t value his family, he only valued the pearl. So in the end Kino did not gain anything he ironically lost everything even though he had the pearl, which is believed to hold everyone’s desires.

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Greed in the Pearl Essay. (2022, February 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
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