Essay on The Pearl by John Steinbeck
Kino and his family went through a horrific, harrowing, and scarring experience and lost something very precious to them. They lost their son Coyotito, as they were running for their lives and livelihood, and this was all caused by something. Something terrible that takes a hold of many people, and it often ruins lives. Greed. A heinous character trait that invades many people's lives. In The Pearl by John Steinbek, Kino is the one that is gripped with greed. Although Kino's greed may have started out with the good intentions of helping Coyotito, and maybe even gaining a better life for his family, it quickly turned into something evil. Kino’s greed is the cause of the horrible situation Kino’s family went through due to the fact that Kino would not let go of the pearl, he continued to bargain and want more and more for the pearl, and he put the pearls safety and security above his own family.
The loss of Kino and Juana’s livelihood was caused by Kino’s unwillingness to let go of the pearl. To throw it back into the ocean or to crush it or to give it to someone else. He refused continually even though Juana was clearly distressed about the pearl, and her beliefs that the pearl was evil. “‘This thing is evil,’ she cried harshly. This pearl is like a sin! It will destroy us’... But Kino’s face was set, and his mind and his will were set. ‘This is our one chance’ he said” (Steinbeck 38). Kino’s desire for the pearl and all it could do for him and his family was so overwhelming, he completely ignored his wife and her pleas to be rid of the pearl and ‘its evils’. Kino’s will was set in stone to keep the pearl. His greed overtook any concern or willingness to listen to Juanas wisdom. They had the choice to get rid of the pearl. Maybe the pearl was evil. But Kino did not want to let go of the pearl. So he and his family suffered expedentially.
The tragedy that Kino and his family go through is a result of Kino’ selfishness and want for a good price for the pearl. Even though Kino’s motive for getting more money for the pearl was good, he didn’t even stop to consider the consequences that would occur due to his greed. Kino would not give into the pearl buyers and their prices. He believed (even though they were) they were cheating him out of a good price for his beautiful pearl. So he walked out on 2,000 pesos wanting more and more for his pearl. “And after all, a thousand pesos was not to be thrown away. It was a comparative wealth to a man who was not wealthy. And suppose Kino took a thousand pesos. Only yesterday he had nothing. But Kino had grown tight and hard… ‘I am cheated,’ Kino said fiercely… Now the dealers glanced quickly at each other. They knew they had played too hard… so the man at the desk quickly said ‘I might go fifteen thousand’ But Kino was pushing his way through the crowd...his rage blood pounding in his ears” (Steinbeck 52). Kino, because of his pride, anger, and justified wariness, storms out of the pearl buyers place. He wants a better price and decided to go to the capital to get it. This fatal decision, unbeknownst to Kino, was the start of Kino and Juanas undoing.
Furthermore, Kino’s greed made him value the pearl’s safety over the safety of his family and his home. Kino may have thought that he was trying to protect his family, but this Kinos shows no control over his own anger. ''Her arm was up to throw the pearl, when he leaped at her and caught her arm and wrenched it back. He struck her in the face with his clenched fist, and she fell among the boulders, and he kicked her in the side” (Steinbeck 58). Then after this scene when Kino is concerned about the pearl, someone that is trying to get to the pearl sets Kino and Juana’s house on fire, with Coyotito inside!! He and his family need to leave their home because Kino kills a man to save the pearl. Although the man had malevolent intentions for Kino, his family and the pearl, Kino's actions cause them the most harm. His whole family has to uproot their whole lives because Kino needs the pearl. His expectations and want and desire for the pearl and its benefits, exceed his foresight of the consequences of his greed. Even though he does want the pearl because of the benefits, and how it can help his family, he still continually puts the pearl and its safety, and security over his own family. Kino’s indefatigable desire for the pearl and its benefits were too strong for his own control and caused his family irreversible damage.
Kino and Juana went through a heartbreaking and immutable loss. They lost the life of their precious son Coyotito and it was all due to Kino's greed. Before the pearl, all was calm. But after Kino realized all the pearl could give them, and the things the pearl could do for them, all he wanted was the pearl. He was consumed by the pearl. Kino’s greed is the cause of the death and suffering of Kino and Juana’s happiness because Kino would not let go of the pearl, and he wanted more for the pearl and was not satisfied with what was offered to him, and lastly he valued the pearl and it’s safety and security over his own family. Kino and Juana went through a lot. But they did learn their lesson. They decided to throw the pearl away. Kino let go of his greed and his desire for the pearl, but only after losing a part of himself, his son Coyotito.