Movie Review: The Pearl


Greed is the mastermind behind some of man’s most despicable acts. In both texts, the main characters’ greed leads to their ultimate demise. In The Pearl, Steinbeck’s protagonist Kino finds a pearl that he believes will solve his family’s problems. As the story progresses, Kino lets the pearl consume him. It becomes his most prized possession and he is obsessed with the pearl even when it is clear that it is becoming the root of some new problems. Kino's wife, Juana, observes the misfortunes brought about by the pearl's entry into their lives. On many occasions, Juana tries to get Kino to get rid of it. She urges him, “Throw it away, Kino. Let us break it between stones. Let us bury it and forget the place. Let us throw it back into the sea. It has brought evil. Kino, my husband, it will destroy us" (Steinbeck). Kino refuses, thus proving how much of a hold the pearl has on him. Despite the warnings and signs, Kino goes against his better judgment to protect and keep the pearl. He even goes as far as murdering a man. As a result of all the events, Kino loses his son to the pearl. He is so transfixed in what pleasures he and his family will be able to enjoy with the pearl, that he does not realize what he is losing along the way. The same is true in The Fall of Man. Both Adam and Eve are instructed by God not to eat the forbidden fruit, but they allow themselves to be persuaded otherwise against their better judgment. To get them to do what they knew not to the serpent says, “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis). After being told that it will not necessarily harm her to eat the fruit but make her like her creator, Eve goes to tell Adam what she has learned. The two of them let their greed for power along with curiosity get the better of them and in consequence, are punished by God.

As the root of all things evils, pride is what leads men into committing acts they never thought possible. Steinbeck’s protagonist Kino becomes a very prideful man as a result of acquiring the valuable pearl. By possessing such a commendable item, Kino becomes the envy and talk of the village. Because of this, Kino is filled with pride. So much pride in fact, that it leads him to make rather questionable decisions. When he meets with the potential pearl buyers and suspects he is being cheated, Kino says, “ I am cheated. My pearl is not for sale here. I will go, perhaps even to the capital” (Steinbeck).  As a result of Kino’s swollen pride, he becomes overconfident in the value of the pearl leading him to become greedy. Similarly, pride between the protagonists is seen with Adam and Eve in The Fall of Man. Adam and Eve’s pride is a bit different from Kino’s pride. Kino is filled with pride because he knows what good can come from possessing a promising procurement as he does but Adam and Eve are filled with pride once they learn what potential power they can get from eating the forbidden fruit. Eve is informed by the serpent who says, “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis). This information became sufficient enough for Eve and ultimately Adam to disobey God’s command.

The expression “curiosity killed the cat” is particularly relevant when discussing the motives behind the acts committed by the protagonists of both texts. Kino’s curiosity about the pearl and what fortunes he can obtain lead him to become both prideful and greedy. Kino expresses his excitement for his and his family’s future as a result of attaining the pearl. “Kino's face shone with prophecy. ‘My son will read and open the books, and my son will write and will know writing. And my son will make numbers, and these things will make us free because he will know - he will know and through him, we will know.’” Kino begins to believe that the pearl possesses special powers that will help him and his family get what they desire most. The belief does not bode well for the family. The “powers” Kino suggests the pearl has are in fact evil, causing inconveniences to him and his family. They become victims of a robbery, hunted by trackers, homeless, and more. All of this originates from Kino finding the pearl and becoming infatuated with it. The Fall of Man similarly shows the consequences of curiosity with Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve are instructed to not eat the forbidden fruit, but their curiosity got the best of them and they disobeyed God. Eve is under the impression that eating the forbidden fruit will make her like God. By the serpent tricking her, she believes that she along with her husband will become like God. By letting their curiosity get the better of them, Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit. God is very angry with them, so much so that he says to Eve, “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain, you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you”(Genesis). With the same anger, God says to Adam,  “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil, you shall eat of it All the days of your life”(Genesis). Adam and Eve’s perhaps innocent curiosity leads to the wrath of God, something that could’ve been very well prevented if not for their wandering minds. Both texts can conclude that some questions are better left unanswered.

 

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