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The Pearl by John Steinbeck, A review

The Pearl by John Steinbeck, A review

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Published by: jonigonzaga on Jun 15, 2010
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11/08/2012

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Depicting the Good and the Evil, a Treasure Chest of Values:John Steinbeck’s Novel,
The Pearl,
as a Parable
Perhaps one of the shortest novels ever written yet a trueclassic, John Steinbeck’s
The Pear
can be considered a parable, astory of values and teachings of God. The story of the pearl embarkson the family of a fisherman living in a shabby little house in La PazMexico, a very unfortunate event made him dive into the ocean wherehe found the great pearl, a pearl as big as a sea gull’s egg. Thisdiscovery turned his family’s life around as he kept on protecting thepearl against trackers that wanted to get it from him.A parable is a brief story, proverb or saying which expressesmoral. They conceal complex ideas through simple situations in thestory.
1
Parables tell us two stories at the same time, a surface storyand a symbolic story that is coherent with the literal story. It embodiesa conflict of values which turns out to give emphasis to the significantvalues implied by the story as it coexists with other values.
 2
Oftenassociated with the illustration of man’s relation with God, a parableuses allegory to imply an abstract subject.
3
Conflict of values suggests that many life lessons are intertwinedin the story. Different perspectives of which, arise throughout the plot.If a novel is a parable, it should exhibit a series of conflict of values as
1
 
The world book encyclopedia.
1984. USA, World Book Inc.
2
Berkley, J. 1967.
 Patterns of literature: The novel and non-fiction.
USA, L.W. Singer Company Inc.
3
Tan, A. 1998.
 Introduction to literature. Mandaluyong, Philippines
: Academic Publishing Corporation.
Gonzaga, Joni Mae D.Eng2- F505February2010
 
the main story progresses.
4
Steinbeck’s novel showed the mysterybehind of the main character, Kino, holding on to his dreams despite of all the risks adjoined into it. It is an issue whether Kino shall continueto be a dreamer and pursue a better future or a father and a man of his family who would be very willing to give up everything for thesecurity of his wife and son. It is only human nature of a man not tolet go of his dreams especially in Kino’s situation where he seemed tofind the key to bring those dreams to life and all he is left to do is todefend it from others who want to have it as well.
5
In a dilemmabetween pursuing a dream and keeping his family, being carried awayby his hopes and dreams, the main character has failed to keep themost valuable treasure in his life, his family. 
The Pearl 
revolved around the subject of struggle in dealingbetween good and evil, which also turns out to be the most evidentsubject amongst parables. This subject was exposed, through showinghow it exists in man, in different scenes all throughout the novel. Aloving, affectionate, and delightful husband eventually managed to lifta hand to his wife when she tried to get in his way of keeping thegreat pearl. A shift from a selfless man that only thinks of his familyto a man full of greed was seen in the story. Even though he had goodplans for what he might get after selling the pearl such as marrying his
4
Denning, S. 2004.
 A fable of leadership and storytelling.
USA: Squirrel Inc.
5
Myers, D. Social psychology. USA: McGraw-Hill Inc.
 
wife in a church and uplifting his race by sending his son to school, toincorporate buying rifle as he thinks of defending his treasure thatsomeone would attempt to get his possible treasure is a clear depictionof how evil takes over the goodness of man.Another characteristic of the novel for it to be considered aparable is the use of allegorical symbolisms. With this it is said that thestory depicts a moral and spiritual lesson. In the ornate language of the parable, the author requires the reader to look beyond the literalstory in order to find the true meaning of the novel.
6
From the veryfirst sentence of the novel, the author used many animals to conveysome messages all throughout the story. The most prominent animalused is the scorpion which attacked the child of the main character.Using the scorpion as an adversary imparts the thought of havingstealthy dangers for the family. The attack of the scorpion was sudden,unexpected, and shrouded a foreshadowing of the problems that mayarise within the family. Also, a part in the story mentioned how a pearlwas formed when sand irritates the flesh of the oyster. It can beperceived that the author intended to present the pearl in such a waythat everyone could see a great treasure coming from dirt anddistress.
6
Forman, C. 1985
. Barron’s book notes: John Steinbeck’s The Pearl.
New York: Barron’s EducationalSeries Inc.

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