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Is Kino a good man?

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What, if anything, should he have done differently? Gender roles in The Pearl are very old fashioned, with Juana baking corncakes and tending Cayotito while Kino dives for pearls. Why do you think this book is considered a classic, and why do you think it's required reading for so many students? Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate. Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support. Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

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Learn how we rate. Google Tag Manager. For Your Family Log in Sign me up. Parents' Ultimate Guide to Support our work! Want personalized picks that fit your family? Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids. The Pearl. Beautiful folk tale explores good and evil in human nature.

John Steinbeck Folklore Rate book. Read or buy. Based on 5 reviews. Based on 11 reviews. Get it now Searching for streaming and purchasing options Common Sense is a nonprofit organization.

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Your purchase helps us remain independent and ad-free. Get it now on Searching for streaming and purchasing options A lot or a little? The parents' guide to what's in this book. Educational Value. Positive Messages. What parents need to know Parents need to know that The Pearl is Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck's interpretation of a Mexican folk story in which a poor pearl diver's life is changed by the discovery of a very large gem.

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Stay up to date on new reviews. Get full reviews, ratings, and advice delivered weekly to your inbox. User Reviews Parents say Kids say. Adult Written by Brandon V. March 1, Brandon's Review A Mexican baby got bit by a scorpion and the mother asked for a doctor, the only strange thing was that she never asked for help.

When she came to a doctor and Continue reading. Report this review. Adult Written by Juan P. October 20, Like his father and grandfather before him, Kino is a diver, gath Teen, 13 years old Written by wordswagger June 27, This book was so boring I could barely read it without falling asleep every 5 minutes.

It wa Kid, 12 years old June 30, Certainly Kino seems to have achieved the American Dream when that pearl drops into his hand. But that dream, his good fortune, is ruthlessly hunted and destroyed, piece by piece, by faceless individuals who could be anyone--his friends, his neighbors, or the greedy members of the wealthy community. So Steinbeck could be saying that the American Dream is a myth, that the system is stacked against those who need it the most.

What about capitalism? Under the principles of capitalism, Kino should have been rewarded for bringing such a rare, desirable object into the marketplace. Instead, it is treated with contempt by those who should have been most interested in acquiring it. In reality, true capitalism was never really at play. There was no competition; the market was controlled by one person. So is Steinbeck saying that capitalism, too, is a myth? That human corruption will always interfere with the free and unimpeded flow of the marketplace? Greed is condemned in all forms, and everyone seems to feel it.

After the news of Kino's find circulates, various people all start calculating how his profits can personally affect them. The doctor belatedly hurries to the side of the baby, eager to charge exorbitant fees for his assistance; the priest begins to mull pressuring Kino to donate to the church for repairs; and even the town beggars begin to anticipate Kino's generosity to them. But is Kino guilty of greed, as well? Is he reaching for too much, demanding too much, of life? He is certainly punished for attempting to have more.

I teach my students that in order to determine the themes of a text, you look at what happens to the main characters. By any interpretation, the themes of this story are bleak. Either Kino allows the pearl to give him delusions of grandeur that cause him to attempt to fly too close to the sun, and, like Icarus, tumble to his doom, or Kino is an example of how a poor, uneducated person has no chance of prevailing against the system and bettering his life in any way.

Not only will he not be permitted to move up, but he will be severely punished for the attempt. I personally believe it is the latter theme that is best supported by the text, but I don't believe it is a true statement about the condition of the American Dream in our country today. While breaking free of poverty is difficult to do and is a complex issue, I do not believe that people attempting to do so are faced with certain defeat, as Kino was.

There are people who accomplish it, so it is doable. Steinbeck, like Charles Dickens, used his writing to fight fiercely for the rights of the poor and downtrodden, and I think that the enduring nature of their works are a testament to how very effective they were. View all 25 comments. Jul 22, Dolors rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Seekers of pearls of wisdom instead of riches. Shelves: read-in , dost. A melody shrouded in ancestral mystery can be heard amidst the roaring waves lapping at the shores of this pulsating narration.

Summoning songs of despair and songs of hope, soothing lullabies and wrathful incantations, this folkloric tale unfolds between oscillating paeans to love and hate, repression and freedom, good and evil and ponders about the thin line separating the power of dreams from blinding ambition. A pearl of unparalleled beauty disrupts the life of a humble fisherman and his family and leads them to a fatal outcome following the style of classical tragedies. The impossibility of defeating fatum , that adverse destiny that enslaves mankind with the manacles of greed and pride and nurtures self-destruction is the beguiling voice and true protagonist of the story.

For it is in the nacreous surface, in the seductive roundness of the pearl where the real dilemma arises. Is purity of beauty more deadly than the venom of a scorpion? Is man unworthy of divine exquisiteness? Can you hear the echo of deception that hides behind the mask of flawless perfection? Steinbeck did. It is only the reflection of his own shadows that he is after. Can you hear it? Steinbeck could. View all 61 comments. Oct 19, Julie rated it it was amazing. So, John Steinbeck and his editor walk into a bar.

The Pearl Manila Hotel

I mean, you've written the Great American novel, you've won the Pulitzer, you've fought for the poor man, you've made your fiction read like non-fiction and your non-fiction read like fiction. Reports from the war hum from a radio at the bar and his editor finds the courage to continue. So, maybe, you know, it would be funny ha ha ha , if you could take a story, a legend you know, and make it real. Take a legend, maybe from an ancient people, and make it a vehicle for the entire human condition.

Throw in all of the good stuff: light versus dark, good versus evil, man versus man, man versus God. Add a few archetypes, some symbolism, a few more themes. Keep your characters limited AND, oh, yeah, here's the real kicker. He looks over briefly at the editor. I'll do her. Got any more cigarettes? View 1 comment. She was as remote and as removed as Heaven. The Pearl is a beautifully written tale of avarice and the power of ignorance. Jan 27, Kaya rated it did not like it.

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This is the first Steinbeck's book I've read, though it won't be the last, despite the horrible first impression. I hate everything in this book - from it's anticlimactic writing to its incommodious characters. There is nothing worth praise in here. After I reached the end, I've been so angry and almost ready to punch something. Poor Indian, who lives in the South America with his wife and their baby, finds giant pearl, decides to sell it and then use the money to buy medicine for his child, who This is the first Steinbeck's book I've read, though it won't be the last, despite the horrible first impression.

Poor Indian, who lives in the South America with his wife and their baby, finds giant pearl, decides to sell it and then use the money to buy medicine for his child, who just got bitten by a scorpion. The selling part didn't go well, shit gets real, people die without any real purpose and it all happens in about 90 pages. In between there are large amounts of racism, bigotry and misogyny.

The reason bad things happen to this poor family is because they wanted a better life and the guy didn't want to let anyone stop him from getting it. Basically, his wife is superstitious, tells him the pearl is evil, he doesn't listen, so tragedy happens. Steinbeck is actually telling us to be satisfied with what we are and not try seeking for better options because we're inevitably going to fail in the end. Maybe I should've tried more to read between lines but this was too much for me. Try and see it for yourself.

The narrator literally has no personality, so I don't know how I'm supposed to empathise with any of his struggles. He had some abrupt reactions, but when it comes to recognisable emotions he's pretty blank. I hate it when I can't connect to the main characters or ANY of the characters. And their difficulties were severe. View all 29 comments. Beautiful words! John Steinbeck 's The Pearl is a simple story of simple people, with many beautiful words. A must-read!

View all 8 comments. Jul 03, Madeline rated it it was ok Shelves: ugh , assigned-reading. Poor pearl diver in South America finds giant-ass pearl, decides to sell it and use the money to buy medicine for his baby, who just got bitten by a scorpion. The mierda hits the fan, people die, everything generally goes to hell in a handbasket, and it all happens in about the space of time it took you to read this review.

Verdict: meh. Read for: 10th grade English. Read it and philosophize while you read it and weep. Sometimes I have to wonder what the people who write the back blurbs of these books are thinking or smoking. If you choose to get pissed over and over again, then by all means keep reading this tragic story. I get what Steinbeck is saying in his beautiful writing voice - to be content with what is had and to not let th Read it and philosophize while you read it and weep.

I get what Steinbeck is saying in his beautiful writing voice - to be content with what is had and to not let the lure of greed drift you too far out, lest you lose everything. It's kind of like the principle of this ridiculous short story we had to read in elementary school - I can't remember it's name, but the point of the story that the teacher and book taught irritated me then too.

I get what he's saying, I just don't agree with his perspective. What I take from this fable is that a man gets a break in luck in fortune, something he hopes for in order to save his child's life and better the life of him and his wife. People try to steal and rip from him his fortune with THEIR greed, and he stands strong and tries to fight back, refusing to bow to the injustice of thievery, deceit, and people trying to suck out the joy in others lives.

It's a matter of principle to try and protect fortune that comes your way, whether through blessing or hard work or that rare stroke of genius. There is no shame in fighting back against the tides of unfairness to protect what is yours and to work toward something better. I can't bring myself to rate something higher than 3 stars if it pissed me off with its ending, but I can respect this book because it's John freaking Steinbeck, it's a fable that's so well done it may as well define the word 'fable' in the dictionary, and because it wasn't only the alluring pull of the pearl that kept drawing me further in.

Jan 02, Connie G rated it really liked it Shelves: classic , mexico. John Steinbeck adapted a Mexican folk tale into a novella about fate, evil, the perils of greed, and the plight of oppressed people. The infant son of Juana and Kino, a fisherman and pearl diver, is stung by a scorpion. The doctor refuses to treat the baby because Kino does not have the money to pay him, and because the affluent Spanish colonialists look down at the natives. Kino dives for pearls in the hope that he could afford to pay a doctor, and comes up with a huge, valuable pearl--the "Pea John Steinbeck adapted a Mexican folk tale into a novella about fate, evil, the perils of greed, and the plight of oppressed people.

Kino dives for pearls in the hope that he could afford to pay a doctor, and comes up with a huge, valuable pearl--the "Pearl of the World". He hopes that the pearl will provide necessities and an education for his son someday. But a succession of violent and tragic events occur as people try to rob and swindle Kino. It was interesting how music plays a role in Kino's emotions throughout the book. He hears songs in his head that express a strong feeling--the music of the pearl. When Kino was excited about the material benefits the pearl would bring to his family, " Steinbeck wrote a screenplay with Jack Wagner, so the music probably played an even more important role in the film which was released in I've read other books by Steinbeck, and he is always very sympathetic to poor and oppressed people.

This story is told in a very simple manner, like a parable or Mexican folk tale passed down orally. In the epigraph Steinbeck writes, "As with all retold tales that are in people's hearts, there are only good and bad things and black and white things and good and evil things and no in-between anywhere.

View all 17 comments. Mar 12, Nilesh Kashyap rated it liked it Shelves: nobel-laureates. All I remember is my decision to read books in sequence they were published. They tell of Kino, the fisherman, and of his wife, Juana, and of the baby, Coyotito. From the very first page, the moment the pearl is found and on every other page one knows that pearl will be lost.

Or did I read just to confirm for myself that pearl was really lost, lost to the world that comprised of pearl dealers with hope that someone will replace the one, under whom they worked , doctor who dreamed of going to Paris , Priest remembering those part of church that were in need of repair and to the city of concrete.

You just do not read a story but you live the story. You see and feel everything, even that which is not perceptible to our eyes in day to day life. It just feels that I am yet to read the best of John Steinbeck. Mar 01, jessica rated it liked it. Aug 02, Betsy Robinson rated it it was amazing. The Pearl , based on a classic Mexican folk tale, tells the story of Kino, Juana, and their infant son. They are simple people, whose life explodes with a scorpion bite. The apex is a precarious place where winds blow, people tumble into oblivion, and everything feels like life or death.

Thank you, Mr. In a mere 90 pages you told the story of the human race. View all 20 comments. A simple story about a young man who finds a pearl, and the tragic consequences that greed can bring, yet I came away from this absolutely gobsmacked with the intensity and beauty of Steinbeck's writing. It was powerful, gripping and heartbreaking, all in less than pages. Tenho mesmo de ler as obras maiores d review in English below Que maravilha!

Tenho mesmo de ler as obras maiores deste autor! Wow, that was wonderful! Steinbeck is a master! If I could, I would've read this book in one sitting, for that was what the writing demanded. An imperative, enslaving writing, that transformed a common narrative into a passionate, thrilling story. A writing so disquieting that you find yourself trying not to peek into the next page to know what's going to happen, while we are run over by the feelings of the main characters. I really must read his greater works!

I can't recommend this enough! It was perfect. Short but oh so impactful. Sep 03, Erin Clemence rated it really liked it. Initially I had picked it up because it was such a small book, and the 89 pages were just long enough to get me through the day.

The Pearl Themes and Symbols

I normally try and avoid massive literature greats like Steinbeck, as the easy reading I normally do helps me to escape my reality without a huge deal of thought. Kino is a poor pearl diver like his father before him , who lives very humbly in a grass shack, in a community of other pearl divers. Kino is soon overpowered with feelings of distrust of those in his close-knit community that he once trusted and takes his family away from the village, after frequent attacks and robbery attempts have left him skittish and scared of losing his future the beloved Pearl.

This small book is a quick read, and a great reminder of the important things in life. I was grateful to get a chance to re-experience this tiny masterpiece. This book is an allegory of money or, at least, a parable on the theme of physical possession. All is symbol in this book, the pearl, object coveted by bead researchers, like money, sought by those who do not, are in the center.

The story takes place in Mexican California, near the end of the peninsula. The protagonists are poor as seems to me at Steinbeck and one of them will find, so to say, the gem. I'll let you see what can happen to the poor who die of a magical stroke let fly fortune T This book is an allegory of money or, at least, a parable on the theme of physical possession. Think well in both senses of the word "fortune". For those interested, the story begins: Kino and his wife Juana are rough Indian, poor and workers, parents of a young child named Coyotito.

This is stung by a scorpion and was between life and death. Juana understands that its traditional medicines may not be sufficient and convincing Kino to present it to in medicine of the white. The wealthy white doctor sends them wandering in seeing that it could not reasonably be paid. The couple goes off to, full of bitterness, almost resigned to losing her child. Before returning to work in order not to starve, Kino and Juana are going again dredging the bottom of the Gulf and discovered a huge gem, a huge bead, as they would not even dare to imagine, yet less possess.

Although they want to hide it, the news spread like wildfire. From there, their fate is their own becoming, the white doctor, mysteriously, wants to see the child, Kino hears prowl at night around his hut What to do when you are not on hand to play in the category of which money is the business?

It is now for you to read and enjoy this beautiful new philosophical or sociological character, but remember that everything I just wrote is just my opinion, that is to say, not much thing. View 2 comments. Shelves: classics , group-challenge. Like the parables, the telling juxtaposes contrasting motifs of good and evil and what defines them or makes them so. Is it better to let things be or risk irreperable change for possible transformation or benefit? The reader has much to ponder throughout the pages which turn beautifully.

I could hear the sounds of water, smell the woodsmoke from the fires, taste the grilled corncake, feel the tension as oppression, ambition, and greed warred with opposites. The movie Treasure of the Sierra Madre kept flicking through my head. A timeless story no doubt told in many cultures and voices throughout history, this little treasure of a book is well worth your time and could make for good group discussion.

Steinbeck's tragic novella is about a poor pearl diver, Kino, and what happens to him and his family after he finds "the pearl of the world". This great pearl should bring incredible wealth to it's owner, but the ways of the world are not set to benefit Kino which he quickly learns. This book is likable and easy to read, even for people who are not generally fond of Steinbeck's writing, I would think. Jun 05, Mackey rated it really liked it Shelves: my-reviews , favorites , classic-fiction-lit.

A friend and I took the time to follow through the route of many of his books in the west just to see where he wrote, the places he wrote about it. It was one of the greatest highlights of my life. With that said, I recognize that this is not his greatest work, but it still is a great work of literature. Steinbeck is very well recognized for his lean writing style. It is what made him so very popular at the time after years of reading the verbose Faulkner who never runs out of adjectives - ever. Apparently not. When adding this book to my "read" list and re-reading today for the umpteenth time, I came across reviews from folks who did not understand the writing style, didn't understand the story - HELLO?

It's literally the re-telling of a very well-known, OLD, Mexican parable. I write all of this because in today's society it doesn't matter a wit or whittle if you like this mystery or that thriller, Nobel Prize winning authors are considered Classical writers whose works were chosen because they were great, because they represent a body of work that contributed to society. They deserve more than a cursory 1 star because you didn't "get it.

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He wrote in a language that everyone could understand. He wrote simply, to the point and yet in beautiful detail so that you - the reader - could visualize what it must have been like. To say "the pearl was a story about an Indian who finds a pearl so his sick kid could help from a rich doctor, MEH, 10th grade reading" tells me that the reviewer should go back to 10th grade and start over again. Perhaps there is no hope at all for us if we are incapable of reading one of the most simplest yet greatest writers of our time and understand the moral of a simple parable as well as the depth of his writing.

This book is less than pages long. I would think any reader from middle school forward could read it in less than a day and should be able to appreciate the beauty of the parable within. Dec 11, Richard Derus rated it really liked it. How awful it felt to write that sentence. Particularly important to read in this horrendous passage in American history.