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The Pearl
     

The Pearl

3.5 443
by John Steinbeck
 

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“There it lay, the great pearl, perfect as the moon.”
 
One of Steinbeck’s most taught works, The Pearl is the story of the Mexican diver Kino, whose discovery of a magnificent pearl from the Gulf beds means the promise of a better life for his impoverished family. His dream blinds him to the greed and suspicions the

Overview

“There it lay, the great pearl, perfect as the moon.”
 
One of Steinbeck’s most taught works, The Pearl is the story of the Mexican diver Kino, whose discovery of a magnificent pearl from the Gulf beds means the promise of a better life for his impoverished family. His dream blinds him to the greed and suspicions the pearl arouses in him and his neighbors, and even his loving wife Juana cannot temper his obsession or stem the events leading to tragedy. This classic novella from Nobel Prize-winner John Steinbeck examines the fallacy of the American dream, and illustrates the fall from innocence experienced by people who believe that wealth erases all problems.
 
This Penguin Classics edition features an introduction by Linda Wagner-Martin and original illustrations by Mexican artist José Clemente Orozco.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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.
From the Publisher
“[The Pearl] has the distinction and sincerity that are evident in everything he writes.”—The New Yorker

“Form is the most important thing about him. It is at its best in this work.” —Commonweal

“[Steinbeck has] long trained his prose style for such a task as this: that supple unstrained, muscular power, responsive to the slightest pull of the reins.”—Chicago Sunday Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553131833
Publisher:
Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/21/1976

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
“[The Pearl] has the distinction and sincerity that are evident in everything he writes.”—The New Yorker

“Form is the most important thing about him. It is at its best in this work.” —Commonweal

“[Steinbeck has] long trained his prose style for such a task as this: that supple unstrained, muscular power, responsive to the slightest pull of the reins.”— Chicago Sunday Times

Meet the Author

John Steinbeck, born in Salinas, California, in 1902, grew up in a fertile agricultural valley, about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast. Both the valley and the coast would serve as settings for some of his best fiction. In 1919 he went to Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses until he left in 1925 without taking a degree. During the next five years he supported himself as a laborer and journalist in New York City, all the time working on his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929).
 
After marriage and a move to Pacific Grove, he published two California books, The Pastures of Heaven (1932) and To a God Unknown (1933), and worked on short stories later collected in The Long Valley (1938). Popular success and financial security came only with Tortilla Flat (1935), stories about Monterey’s paisanos. A ceaseless experimenter throughout his career, Steinbeck changed courses regularly. Three powerful novels of the late 1930s focused on the California laboring class: In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (1937), and the book considered by many his finest, The Grapes of Wrath (1939). The Grapes of Wrath won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 1939.
 
Early in the 1940s, Steinbeck became a filmmaker with The Forgotten Village (1941) and a serious student of marine biology with Sea of Cortez (1941). He devoted his services to the war, writing Bombs Away (1942) and the controversial play-novelette The Moon is Down (1942).Cannery Row (1945), The Wayward Bus (1948), another experimental drama, Burning Bright(1950), and The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951) preceded publication of the monumental East of Eden (1952), an ambitious saga of the Salinas Valley and his own family’s history.
 
The last decades of his life were spent in New York City and Sag Harbor with his third wife, with whom he traveled widely. Later books include Sweet Thursday (1954), The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication (1957), Once There Was a War (1958), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961),Travels with Charley in Search of America (1962), America and Americans (1966), and the posthumously published Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (1969), Viva Zapata!(1975), The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976), and Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath (1989).
 
Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, and, in 1964, he was presented with the United States Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Steinbeck died in New York in 1968. Today, more than thirty years after his death, he remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures. 

Linda Wagner-Martin
is Frank Borden Hanes Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the editor of The Portable Edith Wharton.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
February 27, 1902
Date of Death:
December 20, 1968
Place of Birth:
Salinas, California
Place of Death:
New York, New York
Education:
Attended Stanford University intermittently between 1919 and 1925
Website:
http://www.steinbeck.org

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The Pearl 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 443 reviews.
Jay_Battle More than 1 year ago
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.
VanillaBean More than 1 year ago
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.
WTVCrimeDawg More than 1 year ago
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?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is really good buy it. There is a hidden message though so keep a look out
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When you read The Pearl, don't read it at face value or you'll be disappointed that it's a frustrating story with a sad ending. I found it to be loosely based on the parable in the bible "The Pearl of Great Price". The Pearl, by Steinbeck is an allegory depicting the many facets of the human condition and the mistaken belief that financial gain is the ultimate road to happiness, comfort and fulfillment in this life. But I found the under-lining story line to be a reminder that when we throw "our nets" out into the world in search of treasure, remember to sift through it and consider where it may take you.
Sanders More than 1 year ago
The Pearl is the first John Steinbeck novel I have read, and Pearl has given me good first impressions on Steinbeck's writing. The Pearl is a a very simple yet amazing book. There are many biblical parallels. Steinbeck does a fantastic job revealing human nature through Kino by his desire for wealth, and the expectations of happiness.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
M3lani3_Mari3 More than 1 year ago
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.
davidc0469 More than 1 year ago
I have to say that the more I read Steinbeck, the more this man is quickly becoming one of if not my favorite author. The story is the definition of greed and the evils that come with it. Kino is a poor diver that finds the fortune of a lifetime in a giant sized pearl while diving during his every day job. Kino at this point thinks he will be rich and all his problems solved. However the pearl brings noting but problems, pain,death and the loss of family itself. It is a short basic stpory some 90+ pages but the story basic and the characters perfect for this setting. Again, another Steinbeck novel I would strongly urge readers(especially Steinbeck fans) to read. I finished it in less than a day. DNC.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written but very sad
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Steinbeck...read Winter of our Discontent another fabulous read!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Seth
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's... cool and all, but I think other kids in my age group (those going into highschool) would have trouble getting. I have trouble getting it. I wish I didn't have to read this for summer reading...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like Of mice and men it was soo good and I am impress.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
reader830 More than 1 year ago
Second to Of Mice and Men, The Pearl is the worst book I have ever read! Several words come to mind when I think of this book: depressing, atrocious, and abhorrent. At first, you think that John Steinbeck has had a change of heart and he is going to write about a poor fishing family that finds a gigantic pearl and has money to pay for their baby's scorpion sting and money to buy a bigger house, nice clothing, and money to send their son to school. They all live happily ever after, the end. But no, that would be too simple! Instead, people try to steal the pearl and the father gets attacked, pearl dealers try to cheat him out of money for his pearl, a doctor poisons the baby to get money for the medicine the doctor gives the baby, the mother (seeing that the pearl is evil) tries to throw it back to the sea (unsuccessfully) and the father beats her, the father gets attacked again and kills someone, their house burns down, their boat gets destroyed, they leave the city and hide out in the wood, and then the baby gets shot in the head and ultimately dies. The mother and father head back to their village and throw the pearl back to the sea. The end. Now, doesn't that just sound like a happy book? Here's some advice: do not read this book!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
my name is nick messina and i really enjoyed this book and especially its meaning. this book is great for anyone who loves what is right, and hates selfishness, evil desire, and prospering at the expence of others.
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