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"The Pearl" by John Steinbeck My Response Chapters 4-6

Discussion
Apr 14, 2013
by: joeyp

Chapter 4

Chapter four starts with the whole neighborhood speaking about it. Like headline news on television, the whole neighborhood was teeming with people speculating opinions and excitement about Kino selling the pearl today. Pearl buyers are filled with excitement and pearl fishers take the day off in curiosity of who Kino will sell it to and how much and so on.

Inside his hut, Kino is in his best clothes, along with Juana and Coyotito. He wears his hat with care, making sure he makes himself seem like he is a sophisticated serious man. Kino and Juana leave the hut to start their journey to sell the pearl; and the curious people follow like clockwork, as if they are the Beatles walking down the street in their prime. Juan Tomás warns Kino to be careful of people who will cheat him out of the money the pearl deserves, anyone will scheme.

The first dealer they approach tells Kino that the pearl is worthless and belongs in a museum simply because of its large size. He offers him one thousand pesos. Kino angrily tells him it’s worth is far greater than that but the dealer stands by his offer, saying it is accurate for it but tells him to get a second opinion. The poor crowd look on at Kino like he is acting to blinded and headstrong; they think he’s crazy to turn down one thousand pesos. Obviously, Kino is feeling the greed inside him; however, he is right to stand by the fact that the pearl is worth more than what the dealer offered.

Two more dealers refuse to give an offer since it is rare and unknown to them. The third dealer offers him but only five hundred pesos. The first dealer tells him that the offer of one thousand pesos still stands, but Kino is too fueled by greed and anger to hear it. He feels cheated and says loud enough for all of them to hear that he will go to the capital to sell it then. The dealer in a way of desperation raises his bid to fifteen hundred pesos but Kino denies him. Kino returns home with his wife. In the evening all of the town debates that Kino was being too greedy or he was the victim or he was brave, etc. After burying the pearl under the sleeping mat, He sits nervous about going all the way to the capital to sell the pearl.

Juan Tomás walks into the hut and warns Kino yet again, but this time of the dangers of going to the capital. Juan really does care about his brother, and I noticed that everytime Kino is to do something, Juan is the voice of reason. But Kino is still content with the capital being the only way and ignores his brother.

That night Kino stays awake, unable to sleep. He senses someones presence and offensively pulls out his knife and slowly moves towards the door. A man attacks him, leaving him brutally beat up and half conscious. Juana runs to him, aides to him and Kino tells her he was unable to see who it was. She pleads to him to get rid of the pearl, it is just bring harm and danger to the family. But like Smeagol in Lord of the Rings, he will not listen. His obsession with the fortune the pearl will bring has consumed all his thoughts, and he aggressively tells her that he can not be rid of the pearl. He tells her that in the morning, they will take the canoe and head towards the capital to sell the pearl. And she subdues to her husband, sad in her thoughts. I feel like the pearl is already destroying their family, she is seeing evil take over her husband and greed is all he sees. In a modern view, it’s like someone in the ghetto winning the lottery. The person will most likely be blinded by the money. He/she will probably forget where he/she comes from and ignore the people in his/her life. Greed is so strong in this story, it’s consuming not only Kino, but the town along with jealousy.

Chapter 5

Now things start to boil up. While Kino is asleep, Juana tries to stealthily escape the hut with the pearl in her possession. As she exits the hut, Kino awakes and quietly follows her. She makes her way to the shore, but notices Kino following her. She begins to run and right when she is about to throw the pearl into the ocean, Kino catches up to her and grabs her. He punches his wife in the face and kicks her while she’s down. He stands over her possessively with the pearl in hand, and shows his dominance in an evil stare. The pearl has change him so much that he is driven to hurt his wife, and that is horrible.

On his way back to the hut, he is assaulted by a group of men. They attack him left and right, until Kino is able to take out the knife and he drives it into one of the assaulters. One of the men were able to knock it out of his hand into the sand, but Juana sees it and finds the strength to get to it and pick it up. She wants to go back to the shore and get rid of the pearl, but in that moment she sees two dark figures on the ground up the road. She notices it is Kino and runs to him, but notices the other is a man he has killed. She drags him into the brush, and returns to help Kino.

Kino sulks in disappointment as he doesn’t have the pearl anymore. This all escalated very fastly, In this moment I think Juana shouldn’t have told him that she has it in her possession. She should’ve just gotten rid of it. But instead she eases his mind by showing him the pearl. But now she explains that now they have to leave because he had killed a man. Even though it was self-defense, Juana lets him know that the police won’t care and he agrees.

Juana goes back to the hut to get Coyotito real quick and Kino goes to get the canoe ready. When he gets there, he notices that there are holes all in the canoe, someone has destroyed it. Everything seems to be going wrong, but it gets worse. Kino heads back to the hut when he sees flames. His hut has been set on fire, and worse, Juana and Coyotito might be in there! He rushes over but before he arrived there he runs into his wife and child. She tells him that their house is completely gone, and as the neighbors put out the fire to save their own huts, they fall into the darkness in hiding. They find their way to Kino’s brothers house Juan.

Without Juan and his wife knowing, Kino, Juana, and Coyotito take refuge in the hut. They hear everyone that is putting out the flames speculate that they have died in the fire. When Juan’s wife returns to the hut, Kino whispers to her and tells her to get her husband but not to let anyone know of their being alive. When she returns with Juan, Kino explains everything to him. He tells him that he had killed a man in self defense and pleas for him to let him stay for a night. Juan is worried about danger coming to his family, but in the end agrees for Kino and his family to stay.

Kino wants to make a second attempt to flee, and tells Juan of his plan to go to the northern cities and try to sell the pearl up there. Juan warns him to stay away from the shores, as search parties will be looking for him, even though he had told the people that he thinks they are trying to flee south of the town. Once night comes, Kino and his family say goodbye to Juan and his wife, and head out to escape into the night.

With end of the book near, I wonder what is the fate of Kino and his family. I wonder if they will be found and maybe even day or if they sell the pearl. I question if they live happily far away from the town. I also wonder what will escalate between Kino and Juana, even though they are still husband and wife and must escape together, they are not the same couple they were in the beginning. Innocence is no longer in their traits and most of all, they can never return back to how things were.

Chapter 6

The end is near! No not like the end of the world, but the end of Kino and Juana’s story. Kino and Juana flee in the night with Coyotito while the town sleeps, trying not to make any trace of their journey. They go and go and go all night until they camp on the roadside when the sun rises. Juana rest until noon as Kino stays awake, completely aware of everything. She wakes up and asks Kino about the worth of the pearl, maybe he was too blinded and the pearl is not worth anymore than the dealer offered. But he tells her that if that were the case, than he would not have been attacked for it.

The next part is what stood out to me most in the book. Kino knows that he lied to Juana. He told her that he sees them getting a harpoon and rifle, a proper wedding, and education for Coyotito; but in reality, all he sees is blood. He sees his body on the ground, Coyotito looking as if he were sick, and Juana heading home a beaten mess. That’s powerful, to lie and continue on the same path for greed and not the well-being of your loved ones.

As they go forth and then take another rest, Juana can not sleep. She stays awake while Kino rest. He awakes in a huff and commands them to be quiet. He leaves them and steadily goes forward until he sees three men who appear to be trackers. He watches them grow near and gets ready to attack by grasping his knife; Juana quiets Coyotito as she also realizes what’s going on. For a quick moment it seemed as if they were about to discover Juana and Coyotito, but they lose their trail.

Kino hurries back to Juana and tells her to get everything they need to leave, it’s only a matter of time before they come back. But he breaks down and thinks that this is all pointless and hopeless and that he doesn’t want to run anymore. Immediately Juana snaps at him, he gives up on them and she tells him she will resent him for this. He gains his sense and thinks that he can lose them if he brings them to the mountains.

They go on, irresponsibly leaving tracks. Kino tries to tell Juana that when they take a break, he should keep going. That way the trackers will follow him and she and Coyotito will be safe. But she’s not hearing it, she refuses to split up. They find a cave with a waterfall and refill their supply and clean Coyotito. As Kino looks out, he notices the men hurrying up toward them! Kino attempts to make a diversion trail to draw them away from the cave, so that they pass his wife and child.

However by evening they make camp at the pool on the cave and eat. Juana keeps Coyotito quiet the whole time, even though she is very scared. Kino notices that two of the men are asleep and that the third is his chance to get his family away safely. He tells Juana he must try to kill the man, for his family. She is so scared but he convinces her, and tells her to run to the nearest town should he die. At this point he strips to avoid being noticed. I’m biting my nails right now, I don’t know if he is going to live or if they’re all going to die or not.
He takes out his knife, ready to attack. But just as he is about to the moon shines and he knows his shot was blown. He now waits for the man to turn his head. But suddenly, Coyotito starts crying! Coyotito cries so loud that he wakes one of the men. They wonder whether it is a human or coyote cry, but they fire a shot toward the cries anyways to quiet it. In that moment Kino takes his opportunity and lunges at the watchmen with the knife and takes his rifle. He knocks the other man out with a hard blow of the butt of the gun. The third man runs up the cliff as Kino watches. He aims and shoots him with the first shot. When he gets to him, he shows him no mercy. He shoots him right in between the eyes, no remorse.

All of a sudden everything seems to have went smoothly, they can escape now! But before relief can even settle in his mind, he feels the uneasy silence and then suddenly hears wails from his wife. He rushes to her, to see a scene that would make the strongest man drop to his knees. The shot that the watchmen fired had struck Coyotito in the head, killing him instantly.

The next day, Kino and Juana return back to the town, with Coyotito’s body in a sack over Juana’s shoulder. They don’t greet anyone, even as they stare. Juan can only raise his hand as he is speechless. They continue toward the shore. When they arrive, they both stare at the pearl in Kino’s hand. All the horrible memories flash in front of Kino until he is so angry he takes and throws it into the ocean as far as he can and he and Juana stare at the spot it splashes in as the sun sets.

The ending had to be one of the most unexpected endings I have ever read. It shows that greed doesn’t bring anything but evil. Now Kino and Juana are homeless, and have no canoe for Kino to fish or search for pearls. Most of all, they lost Coyotito, their infant son. In the moral aspect, the pearl was the most evil thing that can happen to them, as even if they wouldn’t have found it, they still would have lost Coyotito. This story is very sad in the end, however not all is lost as they still have their lives, even though their innocence and lifestyle can never be revisited.