The Pearl

( 426 )

Overview

Like his father and grandfather before him, Kino is a poor diver, gathering pearls from the gulf beds that once brought great wealth to the Kings of Spain and now provide Kino, Juana, and their infant son with meager subsistence. Then, on a day like any other, Kino emerges from the sea with a pearl as large as a sea gull's egg, as "perfect as the moon." With the pearl comes hope, the promise of comfort and of security . . . 

A story of classic simplicity, based on a Mexican...

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Overview

Like his father and grandfather before him, Kino is a poor diver, gathering pearls from the gulf beds that once brought great wealth to the Kings of Spain and now provide Kino, Juana, and their infant son with meager subsistence. Then, on a day like any other, Kino emerges from the sea with a pearl as large as a sea gull's egg, as "perfect as the moon." With the pearl comes hope, the promise of comfort and of security . . . 

A story of classic simplicity, based on a Mexican folk tale, The Pearl explores the secrets of man's nature, the darkest depths of evil, and the luminous possibilities of love.

For the diver Kino, finding a magnificent pearl means the promise of a better life for his impoverished family. His dreams blind him to the greed that the pearl arouses in him and his neighbors. Baring the fallacy of the American dream--that wealth erases all problems--Steinbeck's classic illustrates our fall from innocence.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Kino, a poor Mexican pearl fisher, finds a valuable pearl. Yet instead of bringing blessings, the pearl acts as a harbinger of misfortune to Kino and his wife, Juana. Ultimately, it is returned from whence it came. Steinbeck's parable, originally published in 1947, is a well-written retelling of an old Mexican folktale. Hector Elizondo, with his fine voice and great diction, reads with sincerity, keeping this simple, tragic tale moving toward its inevitable conclusion. Highly recommended for all collections.-Denise A. Garofalo, Mid-Hudson Lib. System, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140177374
  • Publisher: Viking Penguin
  • Publication date: 2/28/1993
  • Series: Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 24,990
  • Lexile: 1010L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.34 (w) x 7.55 (h) x 0.28 (d)

Meet the Author

John Steinbeck
JOHN STEINBECK (1902—1968) was born in Salinas, California. He worked as a laborer and a journalist, and in 1935, when he published Tortilla Flat, he achieved popular success and financial security. Steinbeck wrote more than twenty-five novels and won the Nobel Prize in 1962.
Robert DeMott is the Edwin and Ruth Kennedy Distinguished Professor at Ohio University and the author of Steinbeck's Typewriter, an award-winning book of critical essays.
Gary Scharnhorst is professor of English at the University of New Mexico. He is the editor of books by Bret Harte and John De Forest for Penguin Classics.

Biography

John Ernst Steinbeck, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner, was born in Salinas, California February 27, 1902. His father, John Steinbeck, served as Monterey County Treasurer for many years. His mother, Olive Hamilton, was a former schoolteacher who developed in him a love of literature. Young Steinbeck came to know the Salinas Valley well, working as a hired hand on nearby ranches in Monterey County. In 1919, he graduated from Salinas High School as president of his class and entered Stanford University majoring in English. Stanford did not claim his undivided attention. During this time he attended only sporadically while working at a variety jobs including on with the Big Sur highway project, and one at Spreckels Sugar Company near Salinas.

Steinbeck left Stanford permanently in 1925 to pursue a career in writing in New York City. He was unsuccessful and returned, disappointed, to California the following year. Though his first novel, Cup of Gold, was published in 1929, it attracted little literary attention. Two subsequent novels, The Pastures of Heaven and To A God Unknown, met the same fate.

After moving to the Monterey Peninsula in 1930, Steinbeck and his new wife, Carol Henning, made their home in Pacific Grove. Here, not far from famed Cannery Row, heart of the California sardine industry, Steinbeck found material he would later use for two more works, Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row.

With Tortilla Flat (1935), Steinbeck's career took a decidedly positive turn, receiving the California Commonwealth Club's Gold Medal. He felt encouraged to continue writing, relying on extensive research and personal observation of the human drama for his stories. In 1937, Of Mice and Men was published. Two years later, the novel was produced on Broadway and made into a movie. In 1940, Steinbeck won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for Grapes of Wrath, bringing to public attention the plight of dispossessed farmers.

After Steinbeck and Henning divorced in 1942, he married Gwyndolyn Conger. The couple moved to New York City and had two sons, Thomas and two years later, John. During the war years, Steinbeck served as a war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune. Some of his dispatches reappeared in Once There Was A War. In 1945, Steinbeck published Cannery Row and continued to write prolifically, producing plays, short stories and film scripts. In 1950, he married Elaine Anderson Scott and they remained together until his death.

Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 "...for his realistic as well as imaginative writings, distinguished by a sympathetic humor and keen social perception.." In his acceptance speech, Steinbeck summarized what he sought to achieve through his works:

"...Literature is as old as speech. It grew out of human need for it and it has not changed except to become more needed. The skalds, the bards, the writers are not separate and exclusive. From the beginning, their functions, their duties, their responsibilities have been decreed by our species...Further more, the writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man's proven capacity of greatness of heart and spirit—gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally flags of hope and emulation. I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature..."

Steinbeck remained a private person, shunning publicity and moving frequently in his search for privacy. He died on December 20, 1968 in New York City, where he and his family made a home. But his final resting place was the valley he had written about with such passion. At his request, his ashes were interred in the Garden of Memories cemetery in Salinas. He is survived by his son, Thomas.

Author biography courtesy of the National Steinbeck Center.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Amnesia Glasscock
      John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. (full name); Amnesia Glasscock
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 27, 1902
    2. Place of Birth:
      Salinas, California
    1. Date of Death:
      December 20, 1968
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 426 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(136)

4 Star

(110)

3 Star

(70)

2 Star

(47)

1 Star

(63)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 427 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 26, 2012

    I enjoyed it for the most part

    In the book The Pearl by John Steinbeck, the main character Kino faces a dilemma after finding a pearl in the ocean. Kino and his wife live in a little village and, one day while diving, Kino spots something shiny stuck on a rock. Kino realizes it is a pearl and he chips it off of the rock. At first Kino didnt believe that there would really be a pearl in such a shell, but sure enough he opens it up and sees the pearl inside. The news spreads around the village and every one wants to see it. Village members, including friends of the family, are willing to do anything to get their hands on this pearl because of the wealth and power it would potentially bring them. Soon after the discovery Kino's son, Coyotito, is stung by a scorpion and soon becomes ill and Kino and his wife take him to the doctor in the city. When the guard at the gate sees the family approaching, he tells them the doctor is not there. The guard says this beacuse he sees that Kino will have no way of paying the doctor, until Kino tells him about the pearl. The doctor goes to Kino's house and "cures" Coyotito. After everyone has heard about the pearl Kino begins hearing things stirring in the night next to his hut and goes out to see what is causing the noise. This occurs twice in the story, and both times, Kino comes back covered in blood. Juanita, Kino's wife, knows that the pearl is no good and may even be evil. One night Juanita becomes so fed up with the pearl that she takes it and tries to throw it back into the ocean but Kino was driven by anger and beats her when he sees this happeneing. Overall, there are lots of tragic incidents in this story and the pearl brings nothing but problems, pain, death and the loss of family itself. The theme I see fit for this story is that basically, money and power can drive you to go to impossible measures, and that in the end, it isnt worth all of the strain it causes a person.

    13 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 27, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Classic

    The Pearl is a classic by the excellent writer, John Steinbeck. A simple story, yet filled with dramatic characters and events that kept me flipping the pages. One of the best aspects of The Pearl is the writing. John Steinbeck's writing is untouchable and classic. I loved the Pearl and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a classic book that shows culture and the value of materials and wealth over love.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 2, 2011

    Stuped

    Stuped book never get it

    8 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors.

    The Pearl is an excellent tale--one of my favorites. It's a simple classic that explores the depths of man's darkest nature. The protagonist, Kino, is a young, poor pearler in tune with family and nature, but a tragic event exemplifies his discontent with life's meager offering for his oppressed little village. Kino's luck dramatically improves when he finds the Pearl of the World. Yet the Pearl summons the evil spirit of mankind, instead of bringing the fortune Kino desires. Kino subsequently becomes suspicious of almost everyone, including his loving wife, for those who covet the Pearl will do anything to steal it. Will Kino successfully protect his family and sell the Pearl before those who covet it catch him? Is he willing to risk everything to improve his stake in life?

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2012

    Worst book I've ever read

    This book was TERRIBLE! If i could give it zero stars i would

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2012

    The pearl

    This book was terrible! I dont know why people say its a classic. The only reason i finished it was because i had to do a report on it. The baby was killed supposedly as a punishment for greed. But the dad wasnt greedy! He just wanted to make things better for his family

    DO NOT BUY!!!

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2011

    Not the biggest fan

    Why does the most innocent person in the book always have to die? It's just too sad.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2013

    This book stinks, the baby got shot 

    This book stinks, the baby got shot 

    3 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2012

    Bad

    I didnt like it..... it was stupid when coyotito had to die. I mean why couldnt kino pay back for his sin instead of having his baby die?

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2012

    Ick

    It was so boring

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2008

    A Major Disappointment

    I disliked this book greatly. I had to read this book for school and found it highly unreal and boring. The main character isn't very smart and the ending is very saddening. Avoid this book if possible.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2013

    U

    It was boring. I had to read it 4 school :/

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2012

    Interesting

    Upon being required to read this book for a school assignment, i was not looking forward to studying this story. After completing this book, I must say it was better than I thought it would be. This is a book you could put on your summer reading list for new things to try. I gave this book a three because it was extremely short and not quite my style.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2012

    STUPID STUPID STUPID!!!!!

    Are teacher made us do a report on it an read it it sucked. Who wants to read about a shot baby. Its boring as all crap! I hate this book! SO DOES PRACTICALY ANY MIDDLE TO HIGHSCHOOL OR EVEN ELEMENTARY KID! My 3 year old sister who i read it too exclaimed "Sissy i dont like it!" Well i can conclude this stuff is *#&#--$*%-#-$&"!

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2012

    Not so great...

    The Pearl, by John Steinbeck is a short 90pg novel. This is the story of Kino, Juana and their infant son, a poor Indian family who makes their living diving for pearls in the ocean near to their home (hut). One day while diving Kino uncovers the pearl of his dreams, The Great Pearl. Upon discovery of this pearl Kino and Juana's lives would change forever because of the greed the people in the area have in their hearts. Village members, including friends of the family, are willing to do anything to get their hands on this pearl because of the wealth it would potentially bring them. Though this story does contain many literary devises, like the use of music to set the mood in most scenes, i would not recommend it. This story seems to be very drawn out and could have been told better in a matter of 30pgs as compared to the 90 that it filled. I personally hated the ending of this story and that is one of the reasons I have such a poor opinion of it. This book is well written but simply could not keep my attention.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2007

    couldn't even read the first paragraph

    yawn...i haven't even finished it but im not exactly encouraged to. i have to read this for school and it already sounds completely pointless. it's a total waste of my summer days, but whatever.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2013

    Sucks

    Baby gets shot
    They throw the pearl away

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2012

    I never even got the book in my mail, and it's my first time or

    I never even got the book in my mail, and it's my first time ordering.
    Very disappointed.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    Great

    Moovingg book

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2012

    It really is a good book

    This book is really good buy it. There is a hidden message though so keep a look out

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 427 Customer Reviews

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