Symbolism, Point of View, and Setting in The Pearl

The Pearl by John Steinbeck - A Critical Review

A song of reality, a triumph for the gifts of the human spirit, and resignation; these are the themes revealed by the author in this most poignant of stories. The Pearl is about the ability of the human spirit to rise above its circumstance and dream. Steinbeck shows this through the symbolism he develops between rich and poor, race and caste, and his characterizations of both. His use of symbolism reveals the radically different lives of his characters. Using the third person point of view, Steinbeck is able to create an atmosphere of detachment while involving the reader in the feelings of his main character, Kino. Finally, ...

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and create a world that takes on a life of its own. This is true for Kino, the main character in The Pearl. He envisions a different life for his family after he finds the pearl. His steadfast desire to achieve the goal takes him down an ever more complex path. The strength of his spirit is only defeated when the very value of his dream dies with his child. His triumph is glorious but temporary.
Steinbeck uses a poor community in La Paz as his setting. There is a distinct class structure Mexico.

"There were still the bacendados, the powerful pure Europeans who owned most of the land in the country; there were the Criollos, who were born in Mexico rather than Europe, of mixed blood, and formed the professional ranks. There were the Mestigos, or small ranch owners. And at the bottom of the social ladder were the native American Indians, the lowest rung on the ladder of Mexican Society" (Johnson, 1997, p. 185).

Kino belongs to the lowest rung - he is an ...

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and most beautiful pearl the village has ever seen, he begins to live "The Song of the Pearl That Might Be" (Steinbeck, 23). Now his Songs take on a new meaning. He begins to dream. He envisions a different life for himself, his wife, and his baby. Keno aspires, for the first time, to this different life. When he finds the pearl, his sense of Manhood in kindled. The hand that he smashed against the doctor's gate (Steinbeck, 26) holds the pearl. "So, Kino's rebellious ascendancy to human greatness can be traced, finally, not to the Song of the Pearl but to the Song of the Family, not to his finding of the pearl, but to his earlier fear for his child" (Johnson, 1997, p. 22,23) ...

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Symbolism, Point of View, and Setting in The Pearl. (2016, July 22). Retrieved January 23, 2021, from
"Symbolism, Point of View, and Setting in The Pearl.", 22 Jul. 2016. Web. 23 Jan. 2021. <>
"Symbolism, Point of View, and Setting in The Pearl." July 22, 2016. Accessed January 23, 2021.
"Symbolism, Point of View, and Setting in The Pearl." July 22, 2016. Accessed January 23, 2021.
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Added: 7/22/2016 04:22:25 AM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2022
Pages: 8

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