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How far do the values of Kino and Juana represent the culture of the Mexican fisher folk in John Steinbeck's novel "The Pearl"?

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Introduction

Q. How far do the values of Kino and Juana represent the culture of the Mexican fisher folk in John Steinbeck's novel "The Pearl"? A. The Novelette, 'The Pearl' was written by John Steinbeck in 1944. Steinbeck is a magnificent author who uses dramatic, narrative and musical themes all together .e.g. the song of evil and the song of family to convey his idea effectively. He is able to attain an effect on the reader without lengthy details on emotions, places etc. All his novels are set in Salinas Valley and the main themes of his novels are on man versus nature and how man abuses it. Drama, visual effects and music all blend together in Steinbeck's novel making it an all time classic. 'The Pearl' is the story about Kino (Main character & Mexican pearl diver) who is the leader of his tribe. In the story he goes on to finding a pearl, which affects him greatly. 'The pearl of the world' gives him dreams of wealth and prosperity but all this changes when things don't turn out the way he planned them to. The pearl gives him suffering and brings out the evil in man. At the beginning of the novel we see the Mexicans' oneness with nature as they made songs about it which brought them happiness. ...read more.

Middle

The priest was also a disgrace to religion as he too only thought about himself and riches as they wanted materialistic things. We also see how the whites treat their culture as to be very inferior and at the same time exploit them because the tribe is illiterate. Kino represents all the men in the tribe, he was the head of the family and showed the superiority of men e.g. when he eats first in his family and makes decisions. He is a protective father. This is evident when we see him confront the three trackers and when he tries to save his son from the scorpion bite. We see how the pearl changes him from a dependable, hard working man to a man who wants power. The main thing of a man is to have a canoe, as it was a sign of life. The tribe was of fishermen and they depend on canoe to fish in. Here we see Kino's loyalty to the family and family possessions as we see how he valued his canoe which he got from his grandfather-(Kino's grandfather had brought it from Nayarit, and he had given it to Kino's father, and so it had come to Kino) This is how the canoe is passed down from generation to generation.. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sometimes the female makes decisions for the men as a desperate measure like when she tells Kino to throw away the pearl. Both Kino and Juana were superstitious when finding the pearl and hence both of them suffered from the evil it brought as their simplicity and gullibility made them unaware about the pearls poison and the pain it brought as they suffered a terrible loss and were neglected by society. 'The dream Kino conjured from its shiny surface was to bring sorrow and death, as too much good luck gave them something bad at the end. But at last he had learnt his lesson and throws the pearl back into the sea where it belongs. There is always a limit to which you can make use of something. Once you begin to abuse it you pay the consequences and this is what happened. Culture is a very important aspect of life as not only is it a symbol/identity but it is also something which no body can take away from you as it becomes part of you. Every culture has its own occasions, celebrations, beliefs, dress etc. In "The Pearl" John Steinbeck used Kino and Juana very specifically to portray the importance of culture and the way things go about in a particular culture. Eg: the way the canoe was passed down from generation to generation etc. ...read more.

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