by John Steinbeck
The Pearl Dreams, Hopes, and Plans Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
And in the incandescence of the pearl the pictures formed of the things Kino's mind had considered in the past and had given up as impossible. In the pearl he saw Juana and Coyotito and himself standing and kneeling at the high altar, and they were being married now that they could pay. He spoke softly, "We will be married – in the church."
"We will have new clothes."
And the music of the pearl rose like a chorus of trumpets in his ears.
"A rifle," he said. "Perhaps a rifle." (3.9-12)
Kino’s dreams are for the good of his family, not himself – all but one. It is ironic, then, that this is the one dream (the rifle, that is) that comes to fruition at the end of the novel.
It was the rifle that broke down the barriers. This was an impossibility, and if he could think of having a rifle whole horizons were burst and he could rush on. For it is said that humans are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more. And this is said in disparagement, whereas it is one of the greatest talents the species has and one that has made it superior to animals that are satisfied with what they have. (3.9 – 3.13)
Steinbeck may condemn the American Dream, but this passage makes it clear that he doesn’t condemn dreaming.
But the music of the pearl was shrilling with triumph in Kino. Juana looked up, and her eyes were wide at Kino's courage and at his imagination. And electric strength had come to him now the horizons were kicked out. In the pearl he saw Coyotito sitting at a little desk in a school, just as Kino had once seen it through an open door. And Coyotito was dressed in a jacket, and he had on a white collar, and a broad silken tie. Moreover, Coyotito was writing on a big piece of paper. Kino looked at his neighbors fiercely. "My son will go to school," he said, and the neighbors were hushed. Juana caught her breath sharply. Her eyes were bright as she watched him, and she looked quickly down at Coyotito in her arms to see whether this might be possible. (3.15)
That the neighbors are so shocked by this dream is a reminder of the severe oppression to which these people have been subjected.