by John Steinbeck
The Pearl Theme of Wealth
In a novel where "greed" is portrayed as a Very Bad Thing, there's no way that "wealth" can be even slightly good.
And it's not—much of The Pearl is about pursuing wealth and the dangers that such an endeavor brings. Because wealth is so highly valued (for no good reason, the novella argues), men make extraordinary sacrifices in its name. Such blind, irrational values can only bring destruction in this text.
Questions About Wealth
- How is wealth defined in The Pearl?
- Is Kino’s view of wealth different than Juana’s? How so?
- A rifle is the one thing on Kino’s Christmas wish list that seems a personal or selfish desire. What do you make of the fact that he ultimately gets a rifle at the end of the novel?
Chew on This
Wealth is proportional to evil in The Pearl. The more wealth a character possesses, the more evil he is.