by John Steinbeck
The Pearl Gender Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
No," he said. "I will fight this thing. I will win over it. We will have our chance." His fist pounded the sleeping mat. "No one shall take our good fortune from us," he said. His eyes softened then and he raised a gentle hand to Juana's shoulder. "Believe me," he said. "I am a man." And his face grew crafty.
"In the morning we will take our canoe and we will go over the sea and over the mountains to the capital, you and I. We will not be cheated. I am a man."
"Kino," she said huskily, "I am afraid. A man can be killed. Let us throw the pearl back into the sea."
"Hush," he said fiercely. "I am a man. Hush." And she was silent, for his voice was command. (4.86 – 4.89)
Kino illogically uses his masculinity to defend his actions.
Juana dragged herself up from the rocks on the edge of the water. Her face was a dull pain and her side ached. She steadied herself on her knees for a while and her wet skirt clung to her. There was no anger in her for Kino. He had said, "I am a man," and that meant certain things to Juana. It meant that he was half insane and half god. It meant that Kino would drive his strength against a mountain and plunge his strength against the sea. Juana, in her woman's soul, knew that the mountain would stand while the man broke himself; that the sea would surge while the man drowned in it. And yet it was this thing that made him a man, half insane and half god, and Juana had need of a man; she could not live without a man. Although she might be puzzled by these differences between man and woman, she knew them and accepted them and needed them. Of course she would follow him, there was no question of that. Sometimes the quality of woman, the reason, the caution, the sense of preservation, could cut through Kino's manness and save them all. She climbed painfully to her feet, and she dipped her cupped palms in the little waves and washed her bruised face with the stinging salt water, and then she went creeping up the beach after Kino. (5.5)
Juana has a subtle, nuanced understanding of masculinity in the world of The Pearl. According to this interpretation, Kino can’t help fighting against forces larger than himself (like greed and evil) because it’s in his nature as a man.
"Juana," he said, "I will go on and you will hide. I will lead them into the mountains, and when they have gone past, you will go north to Loreto or to Santa Rosalia. Then, if I can escape them, I will come to you. It is the only safe way."
She looked full into his eyes for a moment. "No," she said. "We go with you."
"I can go faster alone," he said harshly. "You will put the little one in more danger if you go with me."
"No," said Juana.
"You must. It is the wise thing and it is my wish," he said.
"No," said Juana.
He looked then for weakness in her face, for fear or irresolution, and there was none. Her eyes were very bright. He shrugged his shoulders helplessly then, but he had taken strength from her. When they moved on it was no longer panic flight. (6.46 – 6.52)
Juana steps up into a role of greater authority as the novel progresses.