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Novel Analysis Instructor: Mara del Carmen Salazar

Miriam P. Gmez Angel. Oct 2nd 2012.

Greed destroys the things most valuable We are introduced to Kino and Juanas reality, and by them we figure out the features of the whole community in terms of similar behavior, same needs, same poverty, and same critical conditions of life. There is a portrait of the typical Mexican wife whose abnegation leads her to bear with everything that may take place; then we have Kino: the figure of the Mexican traditional man, the one who carries the responsibility of sustaining his family that is constituted by Juana and their child: Coyotito. Up to this point things seem to be predictably normal, Kino is part of a traditional community and he himself carries with a tradition, the canoe inherited by his ancestors, the source of food and money for the little family. The bad thing starts when the baby is bit by a scorpion this is the turning point of the story, the bad luck starts. Since Kino needs to find a way to look for the babys health and his actual condition is the one of a poor man whose only possession is the canoe, he has no that many choices. We see the first trait of despise regarding social class when the doctor refuses to check the baby since they cant afford to pay anything. After this, another turning point in the story, the great pearl is found, the multiple pearl, multiple due to the variety of symbols it contains. First it is the symbol of hope and happiness for both Kino and Juana. Greed before destroying, changes everything, and I make the distinction between destruction and change by means of significance: change does not always imply negative things whereas destruction is associated to this concept. Greed makes everyone in La Paz think of themselves benefited by Kinos pearl, the first one that shows it is the priest himself like in the next quotation: It came to the

Novel Analysis Instructor: Mara del Carmen Salazar

Miriam P. Gmez Angel. Oct 2nd 2012.

priest walking in his garden, and it put a thoughtful look in his eyes and a memory of certain repairs necessary to the church. He wondered what the pearl would be worth. [] Greed undergoes several stages, the first one as mentioned before is the change, the second one like in the behavior of the priest is called familiarity in the sense that now the priest even if he had not had established any relationship with Kino and Juana previously he feels that he will deserve some reward from the gaining of the pearl. Yet the priest is not the only one that feels the effect of the pearl, a very relevant character undergoes this change that is the doctor, the one that had firstly refused to assist Kinos baby because of their social status now is concerned about the babys health, the doctor himself draws a picture of what his situation would be like if benefited by the pearl like it says in the following excerpt: The news came to the doctor []. And the doctor's eyes rolled up a little in their fat hammocks and he thought of Paris. Everyone thought of themselves being totally changed by the benefits of Kinos benevolence, up to this point the pearl is now a symbol of desire, everyone wants to receive its effect and certainly everyone envies it. The first sign that the pearl would turn into something bad is when it is refused by the pearl sellers. Kinos attitude changes for the worst, now he has become distrustful and suspicious, he wants to keep the pearl hidden so that no one can take it from him. This is a metaphor or analogy of how humans turn into something close to animals when they feel they will lose their most precious possessions, but we find out that Kino goes far beyond the edge of instinct to go through something worse that is the man he kills in front of the sea during the night, now the change has become destruction. Kino has overcome the limits of instinct and has kept the pearl with such devotion that he would do whatever it takes in order to keep the pearl; this is the

Novel Analysis Instructor: Mara del Carmen Salazar

Miriam P. Gmez Angel. Oct 2nd 2012.

meaning of greed, applied to human beings or to other kind of animal. Animals kill in adverse conditions, which are what happens here, Kino has killed in order to guarantee his dreams. A mans life is not the only thing that the pearl manages to destroy but also at some point it weakens Juana and Kinos relationship when once more Kino is motivated by the greed and slaps Juana on the face when she wanted to get rid of the pearl, she was a superstitious woman that attributed all the misfortune to the pearl that at this point for her it has lost all its value and beauty. The family must escape now, they have also lost their house, they will lose their relatives affection and everyone in the town will gossip behind their backs. Greed has destroyed almost everything now, but when it comes to the time of hiding from the trackers that are looking for Kino his selfishness and tremendous greed do not make him realize the things he has done and the risks he has taken and how many times he has put his family under risk for the sake of that pearl, but still he is enchanted by the insidious music of ideals, that music that the romantics also heard, and again the animal instinct when he is to kill the man guarding the place near Juana and him. Yet when his greed leads him to kill the man the men shoot and the baby is the painful victim. This is the main point of the theme of how greed leads men to lose the most valuable things, at least from the perspective given in this story. Kino has lost his child because of the pearl, at the end he realizes that his greed and dreams are nothing if the baby is not to experience that with Juana and Him. This is indeed an evident portrait of disgrace and the fatal ending where the protagonist receives his moral lesson, grieving and regretting there is nothing to be done anymore. Tragedy and fatal endings are a dominant characteristic of Steinbecks style and Im sure it reflects the reality he was participant of and that indeed leads us to reflection.