by John Steinbeck
The Pearl Theme of Power
"I've got the power!" said no one good in The Pearl.
Corrupted power features in The Pearl as the nasty reality of colonial domination and oppression. The Mexican natives of La Paz live on the outskirts of a town of colonizing Europeans, greedy men who keep the natives in poverty and ignorance. Many of the sorrows of this tragic tale stem from attempts on the part of the powerful to take advantage of the weak.
Questions About Power
- Who is guiltier of abusing his power: the priest or the doctor?
- Does the pearl bring power to Kino or take it away?
- Is Kino more powerful as a human being or as a primitive creature in the wild?
Chew on This
Every character in The Pearl abuses his or her power over someone weaker. The trait is a universal human characteristic; we therefore cannot condemn any one character for this reason.