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The Pearl by John Steinbeck

December 13, 2015


This novella is the story of Kino, a poor young Mexican diver, who one day finds an enormous pearl in the sea. The pearl, he knows, will forever change life for him, his wife and their infant son. But it becomes quickly obvious that the kind of change the valuable pearl brings is dark and dangerous.

Like many of Steinbeck’s stories, The Pearl cautions against the dangers of greed. Kino and his family are destitute, so even though the possession of the pearl puts his family in danger, he can’t bring himself to get rid of it. The narrative is exciting, especially as the family sets off for the city to sell the pearl, but the themes are heavy-handed. The Pearl reads like a parable, the characters are less developed and the writing less nuanced than his other novels. An interesting read for someone interested in Steinbeck, but not his best.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 18, 2015 1:09 pm

    I was impressed by The Pearl. It was strange reading a Steinbeck book not set in the Salinas Valley. Which is your favourite Steinbeck?

    • December 18, 2015 4:26 pm

      My favorite is Cannery Row. I also love Travels with Charley and Grapes of Wrath.

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