Study Guide

The Pearl Setting

By John Steinbeck

Setting

A Small Village In La Paz, On The Coast 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. (2.4)

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.