by John Steinbeck
The Pearl Power Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"Hold the light," the doctor said, and when the servant held the lantern high, the doctor looked for a moment at the wound on the baby's shoulder. He was thoughtful for a moment and then he rolled back the baby's eyelid and looked at the eyeball. He nodded his head while Coyotito struggled against him.
"It is as I thought," he said. "The poison has gone inward and it will strike soon. Come look!" He held the eyelid down. "See– it is blue." And Kino, looking anxiously, saw that indeed it was a little blue. And he didn't know whether or not it was always a little blue. But the trap was set. He couldn't take the chance. (3.40 – 3.41)
The doctor takes advantage of his position of power over Kino. In this novel, it seems as though power has a positive correlation with evil.
It was supposed that the pearl buyers were individuals acting alone, bidding against one another for the pearls the fishermen brought in. And once it had been so. But this was a wasteful method, for often, in the excitement of bidding for a fine pearl, too great a price had been paid to the fishermen. This was extravagant and not to be countenanced. Now there was only one pearl buyer with many hands, and the men who sat in their offices and waited for Kino knew what price they would offer, how high they would bid, and what method each one would use. And although these men would not profit beyond their salaries, there was excitement among the pearl buyers, for there was excitement in the hunt, and if it be a man's function to breakdown a price, then he must take joy and satisfaction in breaking it as far down as possible. For every man in the world functions to the best of his ability, and no one does less than his best, no matter what he may think about it. Quite apart from any reward they might get, from any word of praise, from any promotion, a pearl buyer was a pearl buyer, and the best and happiest pearl buyer was he who bought for the lowest prices. (4.3)
The pearl buyers hold power over Kino, but they themselves are held in subjugation to the financiers, the men whose money they manipulate.
"We do not know what prices are paid in other places," said Juan Tomás. "How can we know what is a fair price, if we do not know what the pearl buyer gets for the pearl in another place."
"That is true," said Kino, "but how can we know? We are here, we are not there." (4.14 – 4.15)
Men in power subjugate the natives of La Paz by taking advantage of their ignorance and intentionally keeping them in the dark.