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The Pearl

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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.

96 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1947

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About the author

John Steinbeck

768 books21.8k followers
John Ernst Steinbeck Jr. (1902-1968) 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 region of California, a culturally diverse place of rich migratory and immigrant history. This upbringing imparted a regionalistic flavor to his writing, giving many of his works a distinct sense of place.

Steinbeck moved briefly to New York City, but soon returned home to California to begin his career as a writer. Most of his earlier work dealt with subjects familiar to him from his formative years. An exception was his first novel Cup of Gold which concerns the pirate Henry Morgan, whose adventures had captured Steinbeck's imagination as a child.

In his subsequent novels, Steinbeck found a more authentic voice by drawing upon direct memories of his life in California. Later, he used real historical conditions and events in the first half of 20th century America, which he had experienced first-hand as a reporter.

Steinbeck often populated his stories with struggling characters; his works examined the lives of the working class and migrant workers during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. His later body of work reflected his wide range of interests, including marine biology, politics, religion, history, and mythology.

One of his last published works was Travels with Charley, a travelogue of a road trip he took in 1960 to rediscover America. He died in 1968 in New York of a heart attack, and his ashes are interred in Salinas.

Seventeen of his works, including The Grapes of Wrath (1940), Cannery Row (1945), The Pearl (1947), and East of Eden (1952), went on to become Hollywood films, and Steinbeck also achieved success as a Hollywood writer, receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Story in 1944 for Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 11,794 reviews
Profile Image for oyshik.
219 reviews692 followers
January 30, 2021
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
Poverty, greed, sorrow This book was incredibly strong in its ability to make readers ponder upon their own lives by pushing the limits of issues like poverty. A very fast-paced story that involved a man's family into conflict once he found a precious item that could solve all his problems but that item only ended up creating new ones. And Steinbeck's writing is always emotional and I think most people who take the time to read this story will enjoy it. If you are looking for a short story about family and hardships, would recommend you reading this one.
It is not good to want a thing too much. It sometimes drives the luck away. You must want it just enough, and you must be very tactful with Gods or the gods.

Interesting story.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,988 followers
November 22, 2017
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!
Profile Image for Brina.
933 reviews4 followers
December 18, 2016
John Steinbeck's chilling novella The Pearl is the short story selection in the group catching up on classics for January 2017. In his retelling of a Mexican folktale, Steinbeck tells the tale of a fisherman named Kino who finds the pearl of the world on one of his dives. Showing how money is the root of all evil, Steinbeck delivers a poignant tale.

First published in 1945, The Pearl is the story of Kino, Juana, and their baby Coyotito who one day discover a giant pearl on one of their fishing expeditions. All of a sudden, their entire village measures time against when Kino found his pearl. Even though fish and pearls are the source of Kino's livelihood each member of the village desires part of his newfound wealth. Rather than congratulating him on his prized discovery, each villager offers their unique suggestion as to how Kino should spend his winnings.

Tragedy strikes. Coyotito is bitten by a scorpion, and Kino and Juana rush to town in attempt to persuade the doctor to treat their child. In a situation permeated with racism, the doctor of Spanish descent refuses to treat the apparent Native American Kino unless he comes up with substantial monetary payment. The only item of value that Kino possesses is the pearl, and he assures the doctor that he will be rewarded once the pearl given to brokers.

Just like the doctors, the pearl brokers attempt to swindle Kino. Even though Kino has large dreams of what to do with his money, tragedies continue to befall him throughout the novella. Juana urges him to rid himself of this object that is clearly an agent of the devil. Through this folk tale, Steinbeck conveys that money is the root of all evils in the world. Underlying is a message of socialism, which was the world's response to the fascist dictators defeated in World War II.

Although Steinbeck's skills as a master storyteller are evident in this novella, The Pearl does not resonate with me the way it does with others. At first I was elated that a poor villager found a jewel that could turn his life around only to see him face tragic tests. A literary masterpiece that should be read nonetheless, I rate The Pearl 4 stars- 5 for Steinbeck's prose and story telling skills, and 2.5-3 for a story that does not captivate me enough as perhaps it should.
Profile Image for s.penkevich.
965 reviews6,842 followers
March 24, 2022
For it is said that humans are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more.

I love short Steinbeck novels. They tend towards brevity while being profuse in beauty, often written in idyllic tones that contrast with the darkness inside them. The Pearl is such a novel, a condensed tale warning against greed and materialism and a critical look at colonialism that is quite deeply moving. When a poor pearl diver discovers a giant pearl, dubbed the Pearl of the World, he thinks his luck is about to change. However, the innocence of his life becomes marred as finds that great wealth does not beget happiness but rather greed and sorrow as he must constantly defend his wealth. It becomes a parable of sorts, one that reminds us how often our possessions come to possess us and not the other way around.

Luck, you see, brings bitter friends,

Originally began as a movie script, Steinbeck published this as a short story under the title The Pearl of the World in 1944 before expanding it to the novella length a few years later. Perhaps from that, there is a cinematic quality to the narrative here that really pulls you along. Set on the coast of the Gulf of California, which Steinbeck would later write about in The Log from the Sea of Cortez detailing a 1940 expedition with his friend, marine biologist Ed Ricketts (who is the basis for Doc in Cannery Row), Steinbeck is at home in his themes of good natured people living in poverty and the gatekeeping of society that ensures they stay this way. In many ways, The Pearl can be read as a parable of colonialism or how for the poor and colonized any attempt to rise above their status is swiftly, and often violently, dealt with. When Kino has possession of the pearl and upward mobility, the plans and evils of men conspire to take it from him and we see how his poverty of spirit would be required for the wealth of materialism (something later expanded upon in The Winter of Our Discontent).

If this story is a parable, perhaps everyone takes his own meaning from it and reads his own life into it.

This book has all the elements of a great tale, one that feels much older than it actually is, as if it has been a moral parable passed down for generations. There is the whole man vs nature with the scorpion attack at the beginning, man vs man with the people coming to take the pearl away, and man vs himself as Kino’s ambitions become an increased zeal to obtain wealth from the pearl. Calling it the Pearl of the World initially seems a commentary on it’s great size, but as the story progresses we see how it is much more abstract than that and a commentary on the universal nature of greed and violence in the name of wealth. Steinbeck does well to keep everything pointed and direct, but still vague enough to feel like a moral lesson that can be applied in many ways. The ending leaves much open and I sort of love that.

This is a nice little book, rather devastating as short Steinbeck’s tend to be, but quite powerful and beautiful all the same. I read this originally back as a high school freshman and this is a good one for a classroom.

Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews33 followers
November 17, 2021
The Pearl, John Ernst Steinbeck

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 any more than 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

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز دوم ماه اکتبر سال1974میلادی

عنوان: مروارید؛ اثر: جان اشتاین بک؛ مترجم: محمدجعفر محجوب؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، نشر آرمان، چاپ چهارم سال1349، در203ص، چاپ پنجم سال1353؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م

داستان یک «مکزیکی» فقیر است، که بزرگ‌ترین «مروارید» دنیا را می‌یابد، و در دل، آرزوی خوشبختی خانواده‌ خویش را دارد؛ اما گنج، ارمغانی جز نابودی آنها ندارد؛

شخصیت‌ها: («کینو»، شخصیتی مغرور و غواصی فقیر، «جوآنا» همسر «کینو» شخصیتی اندیشمند، که نشانه‌ های هشدار را که «کینو» از پذیرفتن آنها خودداری می‌کند، می‌بیند؛ و به خاطر وفاداری، و فرمانبرداری دیرینه از همسر، یارای دیگر کردن آنها را ندارد؛ «کویوتیتو»، پسربچه «کینو» و «جوآنا»، که در آغاز داستان، عقربی او را نیش می‌زند؛ «جوآن توماس»، برادر «کینو»؛ «دکتر»، شخصیتی که فاقد ارزش‌های اخلاقی است؛ او از درمان «کویوتیتو»، تنها برای اینکه، آنها پولی ندارند، سر باز می‌زند؛ اما پس از شنیدن خبر یافتن گنجی گرانبها، توسط «کینو»، خود جهت درمان بچه، به خانه ی آنها می‌رود)»؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 19/09/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 25/08/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
468 reviews3,255 followers
December 19, 2022
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 light...Arriving 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 below...Kino 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 quickly...It 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 follow...John 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.
Profile Image for Mario.
416 reviews8 followers
November 9, 2011
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 is more insidious, because he never even gives his characters the option of being poor and happy. His choice is a stark "poor and miserable" or "poorer and more miserable." 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."
Profile Image for Kimber Silver.
Author 1 book266 followers
February 8, 2023
"Measure your wealth by what you'd have left if you lost all your money."
~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Kino, an impoverished pearl diver, one in a long line of the same, lives with his wife, Juana, and their infant son in a brush hut among a colony of friends in a Mexican coastal village. They can barely scratch together enough to feed themselves, but what they lack is made up for with love.

When a scorpion stings their baby, and they can't afford to pay a doctor, Kino and his wife desperately launch their canoe, searching for that elusive pearl which could mean the difference between life and death.

There is something to be said for the art in simplicity. Steinbeck's scant-yet-beautiful writing style painted a vibrant picture of this family and their journey. I was wholly invested from the beginning.

I read The Pearl, a novella, in the space of a few hours. Its symbolic message led me to consider the meaning of true wealth and the price we pay to capture our own 'pearls.'

If you haven't read it, I highly recommend this thought-provoking tale.
Profile Image for Cecily.
1,137 reviews4,178 followers
July 30, 2017
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 For

Quiet 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 Song

The 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 comes more sadly 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 Is...

Unlike a traditional parable or morality tale, there is no explicit teaching point, not even a clear ending. Just a new, stark, and very uncertain beginning.

“Oyster Pearl,” Hawaii, by Anna. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

Steinbeck’s Philosophy

Steinbeck 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).


* “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 Pearls

In 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.
Profile Image for Julie G.
896 reviews2,930 followers
October 20, 2013
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 few more themes. 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 any more cigarettes?"
Profile Image for Pakinam Mahmoud.
813 reviews3,490 followers
July 21, 2023
اللؤلؤة رواية قصيرة للكاتب الأمريكي جون شتاينبك الذي فا�� بجائزة نوبل عام ١٩٦٢ وتعتبر وهذه القصة واحدة من كتب ستاينبك الأكثر شعبية واستخدمت على نطاق واسع في صفوف المدرسة الثانوية..

تدور الأحداث حول صياد فقير يعثر علي لؤلؤة نادرة وكبيرة الحجم ولكنّه بدلاً من أن يصبح غنيا وسعيدا، يفقد السعادة، ويكاد يفقد كلّ شيء..
الرواية فكرتها حلوة وهي عن ضياع الأحلام وتحولها إلي كوابيس و إن ساعات ما نحلم بيه ما هو إلا وهم وممكن جداً يكون سبب تعاستنا و تخلي الأخرين عننا..
الرواية أيضاً تلقي الضوء علي حب المال اللي بسببه ممكن يخلي الإنسان يلجأ للعنف ويبعده عن إنسانيته..

رواية متوسطة المستوي..ترجمتها ممتازة و معرفش ليه مكتوب علي الغلاف أدب ناشئين..ممكن عشان كانت تدرس لطلاب المدارس بس أنا محسيتهاش موجهة للناشئين بالعكس هي رواية مناسبة لكل الأعمار...
Profile Image for Robin.
493 reviews2,728 followers
April 6, 2023
A lot of "reviewers" here say that this iconic fable is flawed. That the main character, Kino, isn't greedy, he's just a hardworking guy who wants a fair price for the pearl he found, so that he can buy everything, to give his family a better life.

I disagree. I don't think it's flawed at all. I think that this gorgeous, wise, inimitable story is one about a man who forgot he had everything to begin with.

(I owe John Steinbeck a LOT. He taught me to love literature at an early age. Because of him, I fell in love with words. I had to read them all. And I'm still going. I'd had a battered copy of this novella on my shelf for countless years, and I picked it up yesterday, and my heart has been reunited with my first love, and my eyes are filled with tears. All I can say is... thank you, Mr. Steinbeck.)
Profile Image for Luís.
1,944 reviews610 followers
January 24, 2023
John Steinbeck is as diverse as his literature. Nonetheless, there is a common denominator in the American author's charming writing: the story is always rooted in the orality of the tales and legends that the ancients transmit over time to new generations so that they never forget they came. Here he is inspired by a traditional Mexican story.
This little parable can be read in one go, as the writing is rich and limpid. The themes dear to the author and familiar to many of these novels are still omnipresent.
Steinbeck portrays misery to raise awareness of unhappy lives, but above all, he denounces pearl fishers' living conditions, exploited and enslaved by the merchants of precious stones.
He denounces protests repeatedly against the social divide and the painful and hopeless misery it generates.
What brings life to life are dreams and flourishing imagination. But the goals of the poor are systematically trampled on by the most powerful.
Despite a realistic but very pessimistic vision of society, all of Steinbeck's finesse illuminates The Pearl, whose melancholic music had permanently embedded in my memory.
Profile Image for Fernando.
684 reviews1,127 followers
February 20, 2019
Porque esa perla ha llegado a ser mi alma, dice Kino. Si me desprendo de ella, pierdo mi alma.

Qué hermoso libro. Una historia sencilla, narrada en forma clara, sin rodeos ni términos difíciles. Steinbeck logra atraparme siempre con sus libros. Al igual que como con "De Ratones y Hombres", "La Perla" nos muestra una historia en donde apreciamos la naturaleza humana al desnudo, las emociones a flor de piel en situaciones límites.
No he leído "Las Uvas de la Ira" ni "Al Este del Edén", pero siento que Steinbeck es poderoso en este tipo de novelas cortas. En este libro todo gira alrededor de esa perla, cuya "canción", como él la denomina, comienza a infectar el alma de Kino.
Ese pescador afortunado (¿afortunado?) por el descubrimiento de la gema que busca la felicidad a partir de él. Kino y Juana junto con Coyotito emprenden una travesía al estilo Sam y Frodo con una perla en vez de un anillo, pero no hacen falta 700 interminables páginas para describir la travesía, no hace falta describir enredos agotadores para lograr un efecto maravilloso en el lector.
Tan sólo un objeto, una perla, que nos pregunta a todos, al narrador, los personajes y al lector: ¿tú, qué harías ante una oportunidad así?
Para Kino es una bendición, para Juana, una maldición y para nosotros, los lectores, una maravillosa historia.
Profile Image for Cindy Newton.
657 reviews129 followers
June 17, 2023
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?


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 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 is a testament to how very effective they were.
Profile Image for Piyangie.
530 reviews489 followers
January 6, 2023
The Pearl is Steinbeck's retelling of a Mexican folktale. With his beautiful writing, Steinbeck tells us the story of Kino, a poor pearl diver, whose simple and peaceful life changes, irrevocably, with the finding of the "pearl of the world". With the newfound riches, Kino dreams of making a better life for his family, educating his son, hoping he will uplift them from the class of "outcasts". But, fate or evil or greed or whatever you like to call it won't let Kino see the dawn of his dream. Instead, only tragedy follows in its wake.

This tragic story is gloomy and depressing. My heart went to Kino and his family. At the same time, I was feeling angry at the injustice of it all. Kino only wants a better life for his family. But his efforts are thwarted at every corner. He is cheated, threatened, and persecuted just because he wanted to get a decent sum for his pearl so he could make a good living out of it.

When I read a little into the background of this novella, I saw that one of the main themes is "good and evil". When interpreting the theme it can only be understood that Kino's former life, the simple life before the finding of the pearl, is "good" and the comfortable and better life that he hopes to have with new riches is "evil". With it goes that all is Kino's fault. It's his greed that has been his undoing. He mustn't have dared to rise in life, to aspire to reach higher status. But that cannot be right. Steinbeck couldn't have intended that. I think the story goes deeper. It is the society that is evil, and that "evil society' persecutes the "good Kino" and his innocent dreams. Society is unhappy to see its pattern change. It doesn't want to see Kino and the likes rise from their "given status" to a higher one. And it's not so much of Kino's greed that brings him evil, but the social norms and attitudes. This bitter truth is simply shocking and disgusting.

Although thematically interesting, the story didn't quite resonate with me. There was drama and excitement, and at times suspense, but, the overall storyline was thin and weak. Steinbeck usually rouses powerful emotions within me, but here, they weren't strong. However, Steinbeck's writing compensates for this deficiency. His magician's wand (by which I mean his pen) brings to life the setting, the landscape, and Kino's thoughts and emotions beautifully. I particularly enjoyed how he described Kino's mind with reference to music. It was wonderfully clever of him. I can quite honestly say that it was his beautiful writing that absorbed me more than the story. Overall, it is not the best of Steinbeck, but still, a good read.
Profile Image for BookHunter محمد.
1,431 reviews3,348 followers
January 5, 2023

أدرك الجيران الآن أنهم يشهدون أحداث معجزة عظيمة. أدركوا أن هذه اللحظة قد أصبحت تاريخا في حياتهم. و أنهم سوف يكررون روايتها لسنوات عديدة قادمة. سوف يعيدون الحديث مرة بعد أخرى حول كيف كان ينظر كينو. و ماذا قال. و كيف لمعت عيناه. سوف يقولون لقد تحول إلى شخص آخر. بعض القوة أتته. و بدأ تأثيرها يظهر عليه. أرأيت أي رجل عظيم قد أصبح عليه حاله الآن. لقد كنت شاهدا على بداية كل ذلك بنفسي.
و لو أن كل ما خطط له كينو لم يصل به إلى شيء. نفس هؤلاء الجيران سوف يقولون: في تلك اللحظة بدأ الأمر. الحماقة و الجنون تحكما فيه. فتحدث بكلمات حمقاء. فليحفظنا الرب بعيدا عن مثل هذه الأشياء. نعم. لقد عاقب الرب كينو. لأنه تمرد على الطريقة التي تسير بها الأمور. أترى إلى ما أصبح عليه أمره الآن. لقد رأيت كل هذا بنفسي من البداية. كنت شاهدا عليه عندما تخلى الله عنه.
قد نتمنى شيئا ما ثم يكون فيه الشر كله إذا جاء و هذا ما حدث للمدعو كينو. لقد تأبط شرا. و كان لتحقق أمنيته في أن يجد لؤلؤة ضخمة لامعة أثرا مدمرا في حياته و حياة أسرته و قريته بالكامل. بالطبع ليست كل أمنية جميلة تنتهي بنهاية سوداء و لكن الثروة المفاجئة سوف تُحدث حتما نقلات كبيرة و لكن من الصعب أن نتوقع في أي اتجاه ستكون هذه النقلة.
يقول جون شتاينبك: كان التأثير الذي أحدثته هذه اللؤلؤة مثل تأثير السرطان في جسد المريض. فهي خلقت نوعا من الشر الأسود الخالص الذي حفز غدد السم في البلدة لكي تبدأ بتصنيع السموم. بحيث تضخمت البلدة الصغيرة وانتفخت مثل جسد المريض تحت تأثير هذه السموم.
Profile Image for brian   .
248 reviews3,120 followers
August 3, 2009
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.
Profile Image for Kaya.
218 reviews223 followers
March 27, 2022
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 low-class man, living with his wife and their baby, finds a 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 that 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 better options because we're inevitably going to fail in the end. Also, he justifies when a husband beats his wife and she obediently suffers because HE'S A MAN AND HE KNOWS BEST. 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 empathize with any of his struggles. He had some abrupt reactions, but when it comes to recognizable 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.
Profile Image for Issa Deerbany.
374 reviews433 followers
May 20, 2017
من اروع ما فرأت ، هل كانت اللؤلؤة تحمل اغنية الشيطان كما عبر عنها المؤلف.
الفقير، الصياد الباحث عن الآليء الذي لا يملك علاج ابنه يعثر على لؤلؤة وجد فيها فرصته وفرصة ابنه في حياة حريمه وأهمها التعليم وإعلان زواجه في الكنيسة.
فجأة زاره القس والطبيب الذي رفض علاج ابنه تغيرت نظرة الناس له .
وأكنه من الهنود سكان المكسيك الأصليين الذين منذ ٤٠٠ عاما تعودوا على الطاعه فهذا هو نظام الحياة وتآمروا عليه بسعر اللؤلؤة ولكنه تمرد وأعلن هدم الطاعه.
أراد ان يتشبث بحقك في حياة كريمة ، رغم محاولة زوجته التخلص منها بعد محاولات لسرقتها ودفاع مستميت من زوجها.
صراع انساني داخلي عميق بين التطلع للمستقبل الغامض او الرضى والقناعة بحياته البسيطة.
ما عجبني في الرواية ان المؤلف يقوم بوصف دقيق للأماكن والجو السائد كإنه يعد مسرحا وعليك الانتظار لتشاهد الحدث الكبير
اعتقد انها تستحق اكثر من ٥ نجمات.
Profile Image for Dolors.
540 reviews2,280 followers
October 22, 2017
“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 even more distinctive 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 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. 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 after.

“If 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.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
January 15, 2023
“It is said that humans are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more.”

The Pearl is a moral allegory in narrative form; it is a revealing and instructional tale. At its very core, the novel establishes that wealth (in the form of a pearl) is not the answer to all our problems. In fact, it can create many more problems than it solves.

When Kino finds the treasure, he dreams of the opportunities it can bring him. He wants to get married in a big fancy church and he wants to send his son to school. However, when he attempts to sell it, he finds himself cheated by merchants (who see him as a dumb uneducated animal) and the object of envy from his neighbors. He finds himself in a dangerous situation as he is targeted by thieves and those who would do him, and his family, harm just to get their hands on the pearl. Kino becomes obsessed with protecting it and protecting the dreams he thinks it can realize.

Set against a backdrop of racial prejudice and a disparity of wealth and opportunity, the short work depicts the rural Mexican experience in the face of a modernizing world. Kino has more decency and respect for others, but often finds himself treated as lesser. He has better values, though for all his good intentions, he doesn’t quite grasp the opportunistic nature of the world. Human greed and materialism are virtues many live by. The Pearl works towards establishing how dangerous and foolish such virtues are.

Overall, it is a very good novel with a powerful central motif. It is, however, somewhat vanilla, and unemotional in its narrative power. The story falls just short of greatness as it fails to capture the intensity of the human experience with its bland diction and expression. The characters don’t really drive the story forward, the pearl does, and because of the brevity of the work they never really establish themselves or develop (until the reversal at the end.)

Moreover, the novel lacks a certain sense of drive and plot. Compared to the complexities of The Grapes of Wrath it’s a bit of a basic story. Indeed, the characters from of Of Mice and Men are well crafted and deeply flawed individuals by comparison. The ones here don’t quite have chance to shine. For me, this is very much a weak novel by a great writer who has done much better. It’s certainly worth a read, but I feel it could be a much better price of writing.


You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree.
Profile Image for Mohammed  Ali.
475 reviews1,151 followers
February 12, 2018
اللؤلؤلة .. رائعة شتاينباك .

وفجأة .. الآن بين يديك الوسيلة لتحقيق حلمك، وفجأة .. أنت الآن تنظر بعينين زائغتين، تنظر إلى الماضي وهو يختلط بالمستقبل، ما كان حلما سيصير حقيقة، تزدحم داخلك الخواطر فتعبر الأمنيات من الماضي إلى المستقبل وتختلط وتتداخل فيغدوا الماضي وهما كأنّه لم يكن ويغدوا المستقبل حقيقة كأنّه لم يكن من قبل رسما على خيال، وفجأة .. بين يديك الآن تذكرة تقلّك من وإلى .. من حالة إلى حالة .. من وضعية إلى وضعية .. من ظرف إلى ظرف .. من فقر إلى غنى .. من شقاء إلى راحة .. من حلم إلى واقع مستقبلي مبني على معطيات هذا الحلم، وفجأة .. تتذكر أنّ الأعين كلّها ستصوب نحوك، وأنّك لن تكون ذلك النكرة الذي كنته من قبل، وفجأة .. ستعرف أن باب الشيطان قد انفتح اتجاهك، وأن الحسد، والحقد، والإستغلال ستكون أبرز ملامح هذا الباب المفتوح .. فهل ستقاتل حتى النهاية ؟ وهل ستتحمل وتتمرد على كافة التقاليد وتناضل من أجل ذلك ؟ وإلى أي مدى تستطيع الصمود وسط عواصف الحياة المرعدة ؟ ... هذه هي قصة اللؤلؤلة.

أحب هذا النوع من القصص، القصص البسيطة، العميقة، الغريبة، والجذابة جدا .. ولكن ما عشقته هنا صراحة هو الأسلوب، ذلك الأسلوب الذي اكتشفته في رواية " صورة دوريان غراي " للمشاكس أوسكار وايلد، وصادفته في هذه القصة المطولة، ذلك الأسلوب الذّي يجمع بين ثنائية العمق والوصف، فقرات صعبة بحوارات كثيفة وأحداث مثيرة تعصر عقل القارئ وتجعله مركزا، فاتحا عينيه محملقا ومبحلقا ��ي الجمل، معيدا قراءة بعض العبارات، يتوغل ويغوص في المعاني، يحاول قراءة الأسطر وما بين الأسطر وما تحت الأسطر، وتتلوا هذه الفقرات العصيبة الرائعة والجميلة فقرات ساحرة من الوصف البديع والساحر، كأن الكاتب يخاطب القارئ فيقول له: " ارتاح قليلا وتخيل كثيرا. " فتعود العروق النافرة على الجباه إلى طبيعتها، وترتسم على العيون نظرة الإرتياح، ويتحول داخل القارئ إلى جو يشبه الأجواء التي تتلوا العواصف من هدوء وسكينة، ويسرح الخيال في الوصف .. وهكذا دواليك، تتوالى الفقرات ما بين عمق ووصف، ثنائية تشد القارئ وتجذبه، ثنائية المد والجزر، ثنائية العقل والقلب، ثنائية المنطق والعواطف ..

قصة قصيرة رائعة وساحرة أرشحها لكل شخص لم يقرأ قصة أو رواية منذ وقت طويل، وأرشحها أيضا لمحبّي هذا النوع من الأسلوب.
Profile Image for Susan Budd.
Author 6 books225 followers
March 14, 2020
There are a few novels I consider perfect and The Pearl is one of them. Steinbeck’s parable is a complex symbolic story told in simple poetic language. The symbolism is built up layer by layer, like an oyster coating a grain of sand, and the result is a flawless tale, smooth and clear, like the Pearl of the World.

This is the story of the dawn of consciousness: The story human beings have been telling themselves since human beings started telling stories. The story of us, what we are, and how we came to be. The perennial story. Steinbeck tells it as well as the best of them.

The Pearl is fable as poetry, fable as philosophy, like the story of Genesis, like creation stories the world over, a fable that tells every story from Adam and Gilgamesh and Achilles to the Greatest Story Ever Told, the story we need to save us ~ if we will allow ourselves to be saved, to spit out the fruit, to give up the God-likeness that makes the origin story necessary in the first place.

In the beginning, there is peace. La Paz. The little family lives in harmony with nature. Kino wakes up in the morning and hears the song of the family. He looks at the world around him. The crowing rooster. The rooting pigs. The waves lapping on the shore. The dog curled up at his feet. “It was very good” (1).

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).

In his primitive idyll, Kino is both animal and God. Both less than human and more than human. He lives in an eternal present, like an animal, like God. He is whole. He has no ego. Consciousness has not yet emerged in Kino. He is not yet “fallen.” The songs that he hears are the nonlinear and nonverbal impressions that prefigure thought. Steinbeck’s prelapsarian man is Julian Jaynes’ bicameral man.

In this preconscious paradise, Kino observes and understands without turning everything into a narrative. After his awakening, after consciousness dawns, he starts to tell himself a story: Coyotito will go to school. He and Juana will marry in the church. This story replaces his music. Thus begins the fall.

Kino says each thing out loud and by doing so, he makes it real. For as all primitive people know, words are magical.

And suddenly he was afraid of his talking” (26).

Kino is right to be afraid. He is already losing his “deep participation with all things” (55). The familiar sound of crickets, tree frogs, and toads has become a song of evil. He sees only his story now. He doesn’t even see the dog at his feet. He is alone, like Jaynes’ bicameral man when the voices of the gods were gone. And with the dawn of consciousness comes the expulsion from paradise. Kino and Juana “went out into the world” (68).

Kino tries to return to animal innocence, but it is too late. There is no going back. He removes his clothing, replacing his white shirt with his brown skin, but to no avail. The apple cannot be unbitten. Man and consciousness are now joined as are Kino and his pearl.

The only way out is through.

Consciousness has overreached itself. God is dead and his absence, deus absconditus, is the fatal flaw (the Achilles’ heel) of consciousness. It is time to go under ~ like Nietzsche’s Zarathustra. To go under ~ into Freud’s oceanic feeling. Maybe microdose the water supply. To go under and live as the rest of creation lives. Not without reason. Athens had reason. Not without faith. Israel had faith. But without discontent (to use Freud’s word).

All language began as poetry and all language must resolve into poetry. Pure symbolism. Blake understood this. Novalis understood this. I think Steinbeck understood this too.
Profile Image for Murray.
Author 151 books548 followers
February 22, 2023
The great parable (and tragedy) of our time.
Profile Image for PorshaJo.
467 reviews672 followers
August 30, 2020
Continuing with my Steinbeck obsession....I meant quest to read his works, next up was The Pearl. I've decided to order them from my library and other sources and what ever shows up in my queue is what I read next. I just would not know what to select and want to read them all.

Steinbeck's The Pearl was inspired by a Mexican folk tale he heard. It tells the story of Kino, his wife Juana, and their baby Coyotito. One day Coyotito is stung by a scorpion and Kino takes him to the dr for help. But the dr is greedy and doesn't think the payment is adequate and refuses to treat the child. Kino, a fisherman, goes to the ocean to find a pearl for payment and finds the pearl of the world. The biggest pearl that anyone has seen. And so begins this wonderful, heart breaking tale of determination, greed, evil, and family. You feel for Kino, he wants what he feel he is owed for this pearl, to make a better life for his son, but along the way becomes a different person. He becomes hunted by evil for this pearl.

Oh I'm so glad I read this one, eh, listened to the audio narration. Again, another fabulous audio, this time done by Héctor Elizondo (who btw is in one my fav movies Frankie & Johnny). Love his voice and it was great to hear this story told, adding so much to it. It's very short, a little over 2 hrs in duration but such an unexpected treat. And now, I'm excited to see what shows up next in my library queue.
Profile Image for Timothy Urgest.
529 reviews284 followers
July 23, 2018
She was as remote and as removed as Heaven.

The Pearl is a beautifully written tale of avarice and the power of ignorance.
Profile Image for Mohamadreza Moshfeghi.
82 reviews22 followers
May 12, 2023
رمانى كوتاه (با ترجمه اى خوب از جناب سروش حبيبى)و مثل ديگر آثار جان اشتاين بك خواندنى وفوق العاده .
روايتى از يك افسانه كهن متعلق به مردم و سرزمين مكزيك كه اتفاقات وسير داستان با تناسب حجم كوتاه رمان،بسيار تند و سريع اتفاق مى افتد وخواننده بدون خواندن توضيحات اضافى و جزئيات بيهوده همراه با شخصيت اصلى داستان غرق در اين قصه و فرجام مرواريد مى شود.
كينو ماهيگير كه زندگى او به دو بخش قبل وبعد از يافتن مرواريد تقسيم و با همه رشادت ها وجنگيدن ومقاومت ها ى او با تلخى هاى زندگى سرانجام تسليم جبر روزگار وسرنوشت مى شود.

قسمتى از متن كتاب؛
-يه تفنگ،…بله شايد به تفنگم بخرم!
و همين تفنگ بود كه همه سدها راشكست.تفنگ از محالات بود واگر مى توانست فكرِ داشتن يك تفنگ را به ذهن خود راه بدهد همه مرزها در هم مى ريخت و حدى براى اميالش وجود نمى داشت.زيرا گفته اند كه آدميزاد هرگز سير نخواهد شد. يك چيز كه به او دادى چيز ديگرى مى خواهد.البته اين گفته رنگ مذمت داشت،حال آنكه اين كيفيت يكى از خصايص بشر برجسته بشر بود وهمين خصيصه او را بر حيوانات،كه به آنچه دارند راضى اند برترى مى بخشيد.
Profile Image for Madeline.
781 reviews47.2k followers
July 3, 2009
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
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