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The Pearl

The Pearl

by John Steinbeck

Analysis: Setting

Where It All Goes Down

A small village in La Paz on the coast of the lower half of the Baja Peninsula.

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 this passage from Chapter Two: "The uncertain air that magnified some things and blotted out others hung over the whole Gulf so that all sights were unreal and vision could not be trusted; so that sea and land had the sharp clarities and the vagueness of a dream."

But what’s the point? Steinbeck’s tale is other-worldly and reminds us that The Pearl isn’t just about Kino and Juana’s tale. Its message is universal, and its setting accordingly lacks specificity.

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