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The Pearl

The Pearl


by John Steinbeck

Kino Timeline and Summary

  • Kino wakes up "in the near dark."
  • He looks over and sees that his wife Juana is awake. She serves him breakfast, and the Song of the Family plays happily in his ears.
  • Kino spots a scorpion hanging over his son Coyotito’s cradle, and BAM! the Song of the Family turns into the Song of Evil. Kino moves to grab the scorpion, but before he can kill it, the scorpion falls into Coyotito’s cradle and stings him.
  • Juana wants a doctor, so Kino brings his wife and child to the doctor’s house. The doctor refuses to see them.
  • Kino hits the door in outrage and injures his hand.
  • Later, Kino goes pearl-diving in the hopes of finding a valuable pearl.
  • He finds a mega-valuable pearl.
  • Immediately he dreams of marrying Juana properly in a church, paying for Coyotito’s education, and buying a rifle.
  • Word spreads throughout town of Kino’s find; the doctor gets wind of it and suddenly really, really wants to treat the poor Indian baby.
  • Kino hides the pearl under his bed. That night, he is awakened by an intruder, who hits Kino on the head before fleeing.
  • Juana nurses Kino and tells him that the pearl is evil, evil, evil.
  • No it’s not, says Kino.
  • The next day, Kino goes to sell the pearl.
  • Unfortunately for him, the pearl buyers are all colluding with each other. No one offers him more than a third of the pearl’s real value. Angry, Kino decides to forget the pearl buyers and go straight to the capital.
  • Juana again tells him to get rid of the pearl. Kino tells her repeatedly: Listen to me. I am a man.
  • In the middle of the night, Kino wakes up to find Juana about two seconds away from throwing away the pearl.
  • Kino grabs it and beats his wife for a bit before turning back to the house.
  • An intruder promptly attacks Kino. And then Kino’s house starts burning. Kino kills his attacker.
  • The couple realizes they need to get out of town immediately. Two problems: 1) Kino’s canoe is broken, which depresses Kino to no end, and 2) there are three trackers hunting them down.
  • Luckily, Kino’s brother is willing to take them in, and the family leaves the following night.
  • After some time fleeing, Kino decides to head for the mountains. He also tries to separate from Juana and Coyotito, but Juana says, "No."
  • Exhausted after all this running away, the family finally rests in some caves above a stream. The trackers, just as tired, decide to rest at the stream.
  • Kino decides it’s time to take the trackers out and heads down to the stream. Kino is about to attack when Coyotito cries out and one of the men shoots in that direction.
  • Kino attacks. And wins. He now has a rifle.
  • But he no longer has a son. Coyotito was killed by the tracker.
  • Back in La Paz, Kino offers the pearl to Juana, but she refuses.
  • Kino flings the pearl into the ocean.