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The Pearl

The Pearl

by John Steinbeck

The Pearl Analysis

Literary Devices in The Pearl

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The pearl is a BIG deal. At first it’s the apex of Kino’s dreams and desires, and the next minute it’s a harbinger of bad, wicked things. Juana calls it "evil," "a sin" that "will...

Setting

Set during the colonial era in Mexico, The Pearl takes place in a small rural town called La Paz on the Baja Peninsula. The setting of The Pearl has a dreamlike, surrealistic quality. Check out thi...

Narrator Point of View

With this omniscient point of view, we get the benefit of hearing multiple perspectives and opinions. The text spends a lot of time observing, reporting from a distance on the goings on of the town...

Genre

Steinbeck based The Pearl in part on a legend he heard during a six-week expedition in the Sea of Cortez. Elements of the story, then, have been passed down as part of folklore – which means...

Tone

We definitely get a sense of fatalism reading The Pearl. The narration declares with removed, pensive observation that all are greedy, that the pearl brings evil, that Kino has become an animal, et...

Writing Style

Steinbeck originally conceived of The Pearl as a film, and you can definitely tell by reading it. You’ve got everything from camera pans to a thematic musical score. The words themselves have...

What’s Up With the Title?

Right, so this one isn’t too complicated: a parable about a pearl is called…The Pearl. But there’s also some biblical stuff going on – maybe. It might be that Steinbeck is a...

What’s Up With the Epigraph?

"In the town they tell the story of the great pearl – how it was found and how it was lost again. They tell of Kino, the fisherman, and of his wife, Juana, and of the baby, Coyotito. And beca...

Plot Analysis

A scorpion stings Kino’s son and the doctor refuses to treat him.OK, we’ll admit that this sounds like conflict. And in a way, yes, it is conflict – it’s just not the confli...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Kino looks for a pearl.Unable to pay for the doctor to examine his scorpion-stung baby, Kino takes to the water in the hopes of finding a great pearl. "But the pearls were accidents, and the findin...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Kino finds a valuable pearl.The valuable pearl destroys Kino's life.Kino throws away the valuable pearl.

Trivia

Steinbeck was a major in marine biology at Stanford University – until he dropped out.When The Pearl was made into a movie in 1947, it was the first Mexican-made movie to be commercially dist...

Steaminess Rating

Well, Juana and Kino have a baby, so we know they must have had sex at some point. That’s pretty much it though.

Allusions

John Steinbeck: The Log from the Sea of Cortez (the entire novella)Bible: The Gospel of Matthew – The parable of "the pearl of great price" (the novella’s title)Unknown author: Pearl (t...

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