So, John Steinbeck and his editor walk into a bar disclaimer I m making this up and John s editor says, John, it s so bor ing being your editor 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 John lights a smoke, takes a slug of beer, grunts Reports from the war hum from a radio at the bar and his editor finds the courage to continue Well 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 fewthemes Keep your characters limited AND, oh, yeah, here s the real kicker keep it under 100 pages John looks up from his beer, wonders if he can hear a score on the game He looks over briefly at the editor Yeah I ll do her Got anycigarettes Overall, it s just not very good I keep debating whether I should rate it one star or two, but ultimately the Goodreads definition of the two star rating, it was ok, pushes me over the edge It wasn t ok nothing about this was ok.The writing style is bad, though I haven t read enough Steinbeck to know whether his stilted, awkward prose is just an affectation for this work in an insulting attempt to illustrate that his main characters are poorly educated , or whether he is just always like this His treatment of his characters is truly awful Steinbeck strikes me as the worst kind of liberal he s full of compassion for the circumstances of his characters, but that compassion never rises above the level that any of us would have for a sick animal At least in this work, he seems like the kind of person who loves the poor, but only for the fact that they re poor In short, he doesn t seem to think of his characters as people, just creatures buffeted by terrible circumstances.And the moral of the story is nearly reprehensible, to the extent that it makes any sense The reason bad things are happening to these poor creatures They wanted a better life Steinbeck seems to be saying, don t try to do anything to improve yourselves, and you certainly should never dream Be satisfied with where you are, because trying only leads to failure If his moral were something like money doesn t bring happiness it would be fine, but this isinsidious, because he never even gives his characters the option of being poor and happy His choice is a stark poor and miserable or poorer andmiserable I can just see Steinbeck rewriting the Horatio Alger stories a sad, poor boy tries to pull himself up by his bootstraps, but the bootstraps snap, and he falls off a cliff, breaks his neck at the bottom, and his corpse is eaten by syphilitic bears.If you like heavy handed stories with a poor moral sense and bad writing you can still do better than The Pearl. Like His Father And Grandfather Before Him, Kino Is A Poor Diver, Gathering Pearls From The Gulf Beds That Once Brought Great Wealth To The Kings Of Spain And Now Provide Kino, Juana, And Their Infant Son With Meager Subsistence Then, On A Day Like Any Other, Kino Emerges From The Sea With A Pearl As Large As A Sea Gull S Egg, As Perfect As The Moon With The Pearl Comes Hope, The Promise Of Comfort And Of Security A Story Of Classic Simplicity, Based On A Mexican Folk Tale, The Pearl Explores The Secrets Of Man S Nature, Greed, The Darkest Depths Of Evil, And The Luminous Possibilities Of Love It was a morning like other mornings and yet perfect among mornings This novella opens with the simple contentment of a young Mexican pearlfisher at peace with his life, wife, and baby, living in a tightknit community, and accompanied by the Song of the Family that plays in his mind.Pearls, by contrast, are a consequence of imperfection possibly of pain or discomfort But from the irritation caused by stray sand, rare transfixing beauty can occur Unlike gold and diamonds, a pearl needs no finishing, and yet its allure arises from its imperfections the shifting elusiveness of the watery light it exudes, the unexpectedly grainy surface, the not quite spherical shape, and the glowing warmth it imparts to eye and skin Be Careful What You Wish ForQuiet contentment would not make much of a story But wherein lies the greater danger a scorpion, poised to pounce on a resting babe, or a huge pearl that could pay for school, and thus enable little Coyotito to break out of the pot that holds us in There is mystical hope when the need was great and the desire was great , but beware, It is not good to want a thing too much Oyster being opened, source here.Fortune shines In the surface of the great pearl he could see dreams forming Fortune is fickle The pearl has become my soul Wealth brings power, and power tends to corrupt What once offered warm lucent promise turns gray and ulcerous The possession possesses him Ultimately, this is a story of sacrifice specifically, of choosing what and when to surrender Make the wrong choice, and you risk losing everything Story in SongThe people of the Gulf of California had songs for everything, though maybe only Kino hears them now The story is encapsulated in the evolving sequence of songs minor spoilers implied Clear and soft The Song of the Family The Song of Evil a savage, secret, dangerous melody, and underneath, the Song of the Family cried plaintively A secret little inner song sweet and secret and clinging, almost hiding in the counter melody, and this was the Song of the Pearl That Might Be The music of the pearl had merged with the music of the family so that one beautified the other The music of evil, of the enemy sounded, but it was faint and weak The music of the pearl was triumphant and the quiet melody of the family underlay it The music of the pearl had become sinister and it was interwoven with the music of evil The Song of the Family had become as fierce and sharp and feline as the snarl of a female puma The Song of the Family was as fierce as a cry a battle cry The music of the pearl, distorted and insane The music of the pearl drifted to a whisper and disappeared Faith in What Kino and Juana blend belief systems ancient magic invocations, Hail Marys and prayers, and a resentful faith in the knowledge and consequent power of white settlers A traditional remedy might be as effective as one from the doctor, but lacked his authority because it was simple and didn t cost anything For those raised on Bible stories, it s impossible to read this without thinking of the pearl of great price, the desire for which Jesus likened to the Kingdom of Heaven Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it Matthew 13 45 46 KJV But it s an oft misquoted proverb that comessadly and strongly to mind For the love of money is the root of all evil which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows 1 Timothy 6 10 KJV For the mere prospect of great wealth changes priorities, changes people for ever Transfiguration is not always for the better And the Moral IsUnlike a traditional parable or morality tale, there is no explicit teaching point, not even a clear ending Just a new, stark, and very uncertain beginningOyster Pearl, Hawaii, by Anna Licensed under CC By 2.0.Steinbeck s PhilosophySteinbeck distanced himself from Christianity over the years, and atheists sometimes claim him as their own The Bible was certainly part of his heritage, but broader, non sectarian social justice permeates his works Of particular relevance to this novella Steinbeck grew up in California, and was always interested in Mexican culture around him His concern for the poor and marginalised is reflected in his writings He was shocked by race riots in his easygoing state, and wrote this two years later He was also reeling from the success and infamy of Grapes of Wrath This was written with the intention of its being filmed for and by Mexicans And it was Steinbeck studied marine biology at university but didn t complete the course.Quotes The uncertain air that magnified some things and blotted out others so that all sights were unreal and vision could not be trusted There is no almsgiver in the world like a poor man who is suddenly lucky So lovely it was, so soft, and its own music came from it its music of promise and delight, its guarantee of the future, of comfort, of security Its warm lucence promised a poultice against illness and a wall against insult It closed a door on hunger The sky was brushed clean by the wind and the stars were cold in a black sky The land was waterless, furred by the cacti In the desert, pools were places of life because of the water, and places of killing because of the water, too He had lost one world and had not gained another Neil Gaiman s take on PearlsIn American Gods, Gaiman says we insulate ourselves from the tragedies of others we build a shell around it like an oyster dealing with a painful particle of grit This is how we walk and talk and function immune to others pain and loss See my review HERE. goodreads david writes this I m convinced that the general besmirchers of Steinbeck are fucktards, asswads, and vibrating pustules.it s nice as a reader bad, i guess, as a reviewer when a writer achieves can do no wrong status reading steinbeck i feel less distance between the writer his words myself than with nearly any other writer his prose stylings can t touch his contemporaries, his structure and pacing can be sloppy, he s sentimental, preachy, overly didactic, and his themes arrive with the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the kneecaps but who gives a shit i m not grading a paper he gets an A and a gold star at the top of his paper for cannery row, possibly the most complete and interesting fictional world i ve encountered travels with charley, my all time favorite travelogue and grapes of wrath, a flawed but incredibly moving masterpiece and the pearl a clumsy and sweet fable, overwrought and obvious definitely a lesser work but it s steinbeck writing and he s filled with such love for mankind, wonder at nature, and joy at the strange eccentric and eclectic that, even if upon reading the remainder of his writings i find the literary equivalent of sex with goodreads david steinbeck remains untouchable. The pearl, John Ernst Steinbeck 1902 1968 The Pearl is a novella by American author John Steinbeck, first published in 1947 It is the story of a pearl diver, Kino, and explores man s nature as well as greed, defiance of societal norms, and evil Steinbeck s inspiration was a Mexican folk tale from La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico, which he had heard in a visit to the formerly pearl rich region in 1940 In 1947, it was adapted into a Mexican film named La perla and in 1987 into a cult Kannada movie Ondu Muttina Kathe The story is one of Steinbeck s most popular books and has been widely used in high school classes The Pearl is sometimes considered a parable When Coyotito, an infant, is stung by a scorpion, Kino, his father, must find a way to pay the town doctor to treat him The doctor denies Kino, an indigenous fisherman, out of racism, which enrages him Shortly thereafter, Kino discovers an enormous, lucid pearl which he is ready to sell to pay the doctor Everyone calls it the Pearl of the World, and many people begin to covet it That very night Kino is attacked in his own home Determined to get rid of the pearl, the following morning he takes it to the pearl auction in town however, the auction is actually a corrupt sham and always has been The buyers normally fake auction each pearl and pretend bid against each other, but in reality they are all paid a salary by a single man, they all turn the pearls over to him and he resells them outside the village, thus cheating the locals The corrupt pearl buyers try to convince Kino that the pearl is the equivalent of fool s gold and they refuse to pay anythan incredibly low amounts of money Kino decides to go over the mountains to the capital to find a better price Juana, Kino s wife, sees that the pearl brings darkness and greed, and sneaks out of the house late at night to throw it back into the ocean When Kino catches her, he furiously attacks her and leaves her on the beach Characters Kino, Juana, Coyotito, Juan Tomas, Apolonia 1974 1349 203 1353 20. This is a deceptively simple Mexican fable It s written by Steinbeck, so of course, it s written beautifully The story is pretty straightforward poor, uneducated peasant finds monster pearl and now has everything previously denied to him within his grasp Or does he SPOILERS AHEAD Kino is happy despite his poverty and his low position on the social scale He and the other natives in his village are under the control of the wealthy Spanish people who have taken up residence in the nicer part of town The wealthy Spanish people live comfortably in their brick and plaster houses, exercising an iron control over the laws and economics of the town, while Kino and his ilk live in brush huts Kino, however, is happily married to Juana, and they are both content in their relationship and with their beloved first born son, Coyotito The serpent enters their tropical Eden in the form of a scorpion that stings the baby a possible death sentence When the Spanish doctor refuses to treat him because of their poverty, Kino goes pearl diving, laboring under tremendous emotional agony He finds a large, obviously old oyster, and it yields a magnificent pearl the pearl of the world It is at this moment, when Fate drops a fortune into Kino s hands, that his real troubles begin.Okay, so as we follow Kino through the increasing complexity of the problems that develop as a result of his ownership of this pearl, many issues are raised What, exactly, is Steinbeck saying The old adage, Be careful what you wish for, comes to mind, and is certainly apropos I have read that some see this as a critique of capitalism and the American Dream 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 .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. They had made songs to the fishes, to the sea in anger and to the sea in calm, to the light and the dark and the sun and the moon, and the songs were all in Kino and in his people every song that had ever been made, even the ones forgotten Can you hear it 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.The ritualistic tradition of simply drawn characters and linear storytelling becomes evendistinctive in this novelette, in which Steinbeck s unpretentious lyricism blends with the gist of thought and spirit.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 On this occasion, lethal music embodies what is common in John Steinbeck s books a criticism of social injustices, a history built on rulers and subjugated, abuse and spoliation, illusion and treachery.But the dominating melody of the author s outspoken nonconformity is not what stayed with me after I turned the last page of this slim volume For it is in the nacreous surface, in the seductive roundness of the pearl where the real dilemma arises Is purity of beautydeadly 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 And so he wrote a song to exorcise mankind s despair after realizing he can t capture the beauty of the world neither with melodies nor with poetry It is only the reflection of his own shadows that he is afterIf this story is a parable, perhaps everyone takes his own meaning from it and reads his own life into it One can only hope for fleeting moments of bliss when the vertiginous currents of poetry wash away the mediocrity of existence and cruelty is smothered with tenderness and the song of doom is interrupted by the purity of silence Can you hear it Steinbeck could. Steinbeck does it again All my experiences with his writings have been fantastic Every word, every description, every plot point, every twist perfect The Pearl is very short but very amazing It is a tale of greed and how people around wealth or who come upon sudden wealth are affected Many of us think our life would be perfect if we won the lottery, but I think all of us could benefit from the lessons in this story.I picked this book now because I am on vacation in Hatteras, NC, and the locations along the sea seemed like they would blend well with my surroundings I was correct Many key scenes occur at or in the ocean, and reading this while my toes were in the surf added so much to the atmosphere.Do yourself a favor and take a quiet afternoon, get away to somewhere a beach if possible , and read The Pearl Your literary senses will thank you Innocence turning to greed, and how people react to another man s good fortune, is the major theme of John Steinbeck s popular novella, The Pearl, set apparently in the early 20th century, the author is rather vague on the subject in the then small, sleepy town, now a major city of La Paz, Baja California, Mexico, near the tip of the astonishing long peninsula, 775 miles Our main character is Kino, a young, poor Mexican man in his early 20 s of Indian extraction, living in a remote part of the quiet city, on the beach in the Gulf of California or the Sea of Cortez, Senor Cortes would not recognize the anglicized spelling pick your choice His under the mangroves, flimsy brush house has three inside, the pearl diver, his wife Juana, not official, their first an only child a son, the baby Coyotito, he loves his family, and the neighbors, an uneducated, superstitious group, as destitute as he, yet a great generous tribe , who have been exploited for 400 years by the European conquerors A tragic almost fatal occurrence happens and the very concerned parents , go on a desperate quest to see the only local doctor, a rare visit, they know his reputation, a racist that considers the indigenous, animals, doesn t work for free, will he treat their much cherished boy The whole neighborhood follows including his older brother Juan Tomas and wife Apolonia, it is quite a sight the whole town stares at the procession , mesmerized by the strange parade of the impoverished in the early morning lightArriving and the expected, no money, no medicine, so the couple comes back home and pray for the best, to Jesus or the gods, Juana does both Life must continue however, Kino and Juana push their old, much repaired canoe, that was his grandfather s into the calm, warm green gulf waters, swiftly jump in and paddle vigorously until they reach the pearl beds belowKino can stay under for two minutes, he has a knife for prying open the oysters and two ropes, one attached to a basket for the would be, precious mineral and the other a rock to send the skilled diver to the bottom of the ocean quicklyIt will change the way people treat the poor Indian , later his astounded friends will call it, The Pearl of the World, a huge iridescent object as big as a seagull s egg, men have killed for less, they try to cheat Kino, steal, deceive, destroy his whole family he must leave and seek a honest person to buy the pearl in a large city, Coyotito, needs to go to school, be baptized, fine clothes for Juana, get married in the Church, a rifle for himself, away from the evil surrounding him, the happy songs will not be sung , the little family walks away into an uncertain destiny , the black night grows thicker, and the evil will followJohn Steinbeck s wonderful fable, simple in plot with a few characters involved in the story yet they are enough to articulate his views of the corruption of the individual when avarice consumes a man s soul and the endless cruelty inflicted on others to achieve his unsavory goal sad but true.
John Steinbeck III was an American writer He wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939 and the novella Of Mice and Men, published in 1937 In all, he wrote twenty five books, including sixteen novels, six non fiction books and several collections of short stories In 1962 Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature.Steinbeck grew up in the Salinas Valley
- 96 pages
- The Pearl
- John Steinbeck
- 15 May 2019 John Steinbeck