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The Pearl

The Pearl


by John Steinbeck

The Pearl Theme of The Supernatural

No boogeymen here. But what The Pearl's dishing out is way spookier.

The Pearl argues that events are essentially arbitrary—it just comes down to luck. In the universe of this story, tragedy is explainable, irrational, and unjust. The characters grasp at straws (religion, faith, karma) to justify that which, according to the parable, can not be justified.

Questions About The Supernatural

  1. Does Kino "get what he deserves" at the end of the novel, or is his suffering unjustifiable? What about finding the pearl in the first place—did he "deserve" it?
  2. Assume for a moment that we’re right and The Pearl really does reject any notions of divine justice. If that’s true, how does the novel suggest we act in light of this?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The Pearl rejects religion and faith and argues that all events come down to a matter of chance.

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