Greediness as a Major Theme in the Novel The Pearl by John Steinbeck

“The Pearl” by John Steinbeck is said to have many themes or lessons to it, but which was the main/most important one? I think the main theme in the book is greed. Kino defended his pearl from those who wanted it, killed people just so he can keep it safe, he also started thinking/acting differently because of the pearl. Lastly Kino’s greed led him to kill his son, the one who he had many hopes and dreams for because of the pearls. An example of greed in the story is when people desire for the pearl was too great that they attempted to steal Kino‘s pearl but Kino defended it with his life. “But Juana’s hand came creeping over to him in warning, and then the sound came again! The whisper of a foot on dry earth and the scratch of fingers in the soil”.

He also killed just to keep the pearl safe even though all of those around him told him it has brought evil, “He heard the rush, got his knife out and lunged at one dark figure and felt his knife go home, and then he was swept to his knees and swept again to the ground” (Steinbeck 59). Kino also stated how he has become every single man‘s enemy, “Every man suddenly became related to Kino’s pearl, and Kino’s pearl went into the dreams, the spectacles, the schemes, the plans, the futures, the wishes, the needs, the lusts, the hungers, of everyone, and only one person stood in the way and that was Kino, so that he became curiously every man‘s enemy“ (Steinbeck 23). This mainly shows people were greedy and tried to steal from him just to satisfy their own lust. Also, greed caused Kino to act and think differently than he normally would, “Kino was you could say ”paranoid” the he would constantly think someone would be trying to steal his pearl.

He also changed when he would hit his wife for trying to get rid of the pearl, something he would never do, “Her arm was up to thrown when he leaped at her and caught her arm and wrenched the pearl from her. He struck her in the face with his clenched fist and she fell among the boulders, and he kicked her in the side” (Steinbeck 59). He also acted differently and that his senses were like that of an animals, “Some ancient thing stirred in Kino, Through his fear of dark and the devils that haunt the night, there came a rush of exhilaration; some animal thing was moving in him so that he was cautious and wary and dangerous“ (Steinbeck ). The pearl has caused Kino to do things that he normally wouldn‘t do, and when Kino had the pearl he was a “changed” man The most important reason why I thought the theme was greed, was when Kino was running away from the trackers and thought the only way to get rid of them was kill them.

He took one of their guns and shot at a tracker that was running and hit his son, “In the moonlight he could see the frantic frightened eyes, and Kino aimed and fired between the eyes. And then Kino stood uncertainly Something was wrong, some signal was trying to get through to his brain. Tree frogs and cicadas were silent now And then Kino’s brain cleared from its red concentration and he knew the sound the keening, moaning, rising hysterical cry from the little cave in the side of the strong mountain, the cry of death”. This is the most important reason because he endured all the trials the pearl has brought unto him all for his son, so his son could become educated Instead the greed led him to kill his son his sole reason for keeping the pearl safe. In conclusion, the main theme is definitely greed because Kino has been through so many things that no man should go through. He killed people over the pearl, he was paranoid in a way that he thought everyone was evil and wanted his pearl, and last, of all, the pearl has caused his sun which he cared for so much and even had many goals for him once he sold the pearl, all of it gone because of the pearl.

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