The Pearl: (Centennial Edition)

The Pearl: (Centennial Edition)

by John Steinbeck

Paperback(Steinbeck Centennial Edition)

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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 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 Centennial edition, specially designed to commemorate one hundred years of Steinbeck, features french flaps and deckle-edged pages.

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142000694
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/28/2002
Series: Steinbeck's Centennial Series
Edition description: Steinbeck Centennial Edition
Pages: 96
Sales rank: 142,738
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.34(h) x 0.33(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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.

Date of Birth:

February 27, 1902

Date of Death:

December 20, 1968

Place of Birth:

Salinas, California

Place of Death:

New York, New York


Attended Stanford University intermittently between 1919 and 1925

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

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The Pearl 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 484 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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bad Book!
Bookworm1951 More than 1 year ago
Brilliantly written by one of the great literary masters of the 20th century. Steinbeck's books go much deeper than what appears on the surface. Most adults have read The Pearl during their middle or high school years. It's certainly worth a re-read. Be sure to read the intro that is provided in this volume. It provides great insight into the true meaning of the book. This novella is only about 60 pages but it is filled with emotion and life lessons learned.
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 More than 1 year ago
Time I’ll never get back. Absolutely hated it!
realbigcat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first Steinbeck novel I have read or at least remember reading. I won't go into the story description as you can get that from the many other reviews. Strictly from the readers point of view I found this simple story to be charming, well written and containing a clear moral. The moral is greed and how it impacts all the characters of the story. Steinbeck makes this simplistic tale a page turner. The novella is short but he brings across with great detail the sheer poverty of these people and therefore accentuating the element of greed. Although written in 1947, the mora easily applies to any time period. I would recommend this short read to anyone. I look forward to reading more of Steinbeck's works.
Borg-mx5 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A wonderful brief tale of the "pear beyond price' and what greed can do.
Homeschoolbookreview on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kino, a young and strong but poor pearl diver, and Juana live with their baby son Coyotito in a small fishing village outside the city of La Paz, Mexico (which according to Wikipedia is in Baja California Sur on the Gulf of California). Coyotito is stung by a scorpion, but as Kino has no money to pay the doctor, the boy is refused treatment. He recovers, thanks to Juana¿s ministrations, but the next day Kino finds a huge pearl, which he calls ¿the pearl of the world.¿ By selling it, he can get the money to pay the doctor, but he also dreams of buying a rifle, marrying Juana, and getting Coyotito an education, things that he has never had money for thus far. However, his dreams blind him to the greed that the pearl arouses in him and his neighbors. Soon, the whole town knows of the pearl, and many people begin to desire it. That night Kino is attacked in his own home. The next day, he takes the pearl to the pearl buyers in the town, but they refuse to give him the money he wants so he decides to go to the capital for better price. Juana, seeing that the pearl is causing darkness and greed, sneaks out of the house later that night to throw the pearl back into the ocean, but Kino catches her. While he is returning to the house, Kino is attacked again by several unknown men and the pearl is lost in the struggle. Juana finds it and gives it back to Kino. When they arrive home they find that their canoe is damaged and their home is burning down, so they determine to walk to the capital but soon find that they are being tracked by men who are hired to hunt them. Will the family be able to escape? And what will happen to the pearl? This novella, which was first published as a short story ¿The Pearl of the World¿ in Woman¿s Home Companion in 1945, explores man's nature as well as greed and evil and supposedly illustrates our fall from innocence. It is said to be a retelling of an old Mexican folk tale. That the doctor has performed clumsy abortions and had a mistress is mentioned. There are references to drinking wine and smoking cigarettes as well as to both ¿God¿ and ¿the gods.¿ Kino and Juana are not married but, of course, are living together and have a son. The story exhibits Steinbeck¿s typical pessimistic cynicism leading to the conclusion that if something good ever happens, you had better watch out because it is just setting you up for something really bad. Someone has suggested that it bares ¿the fallacy of the American dream--that wealth erases all problems.¿ I don¿t agree that the American dream is that wealth erases all problems, although some might think that, but I do agree that we must learn that wealth is not the ultimate answer to man¿s greatest needs and presents some serious problems. All in all, it is not too bad of a book.
santhony on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very short work, more accurately labeled a short story than a novella, easy readable in 1-2 hours. Its theme is as old as the hills, ¿be careful what you wish for, lest you receive it.¿Kino and his wife Juana live a hardscrabble existence with their newborn son in a straw hut on the beach, where Kino scratches out a meager existence as a pearl diver. Kino¿s discovery of ¿the pearl of a lifetime¿ changes his life over night. Kino imagines all of the positive things the pearl will make possible, while his wife soon recognizes it as a source of evil which soon gives rise to a string of disasters which they struggle in vain to overcome.Again, there is nothing original in what is essentially a parable of untold age. It has been compared in style, setting and theme to Hemingway¿s Old Man and The Sea, but in my opinion, it suffers by comparison.
cuozzo41085 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was a challenge for me and it wasn't my favorite read either. I didn't really like the genre and it seemed a little pointless to me.
DragonFreak on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kino and Juana are the proud native parents of their first newborn son Coyotito. For that time they were very happy, until a scoripian stings Coyotito. They rush him to a doctor, but he refuses to do anything without pay. While canoeing, Juana prays that Kino will find a large pearl to pay the doctor when he goes pearl-diving. And her prayer is answered with an insanely large pearl.When Coyotito falls ill violently, Kino hurries to get the Pearl sold so he will have money to pay the doctor and to bring wealth beyond all means for his family. Problem is: Kino suspects the buyers of cheating him for a horribly low price. And when Kino decides to keep the pearl, trackers are after him and his family to get the pearl, and they will stop at nothing to get the pearl into their greedy hands.Wasn't my favorite book. I know it won a Nobel Prize, but IMHO, I can't see why. There was just too much that felt was missing. I can't explain what the problem were, because it was very whole book with a satisfying ending that was very real people with very real emotions who faces problems with equally as real people with equally as real ambitions of menace, so I can't figure out why I didn't enjoy it. Too short? Too fast of a pace? I don't know, but I may be the only person who didn't seem to enjoy it.Rating: Two and a Half Stars **1/2
krissa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was a classic. That is about the best thing I can say about it. It was horrible. I think that was the most abused baby in the history of novels. I know it was supposed to teach a lesson, but it was a sad book, that kept getting worse. I kept waiting for some happy, which never really came. But, a good way to dip a toe into Steinbeck.
dmenon90 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Pearl by John Steinbeck is one of those little books that are undeniably classics. From the first page on, you are aware of the greatness of the writing. So here we are told the story of young Kino, a pearl fisherman in Mexico, his wife Juana and their baby Coyotito. They live simply in a brush hut, eating corncakes and enjoying the simple fullness of their family. Until the day Kino finds in the ocean the pearl the likes of which no one has seen before- the Pearl of the World. It is astounding in its size and beauty, and Kino begins to see in it dreams of his vastly enhanced future, his son being able to read, a church wedding with Juana, a rifle, and many other desires and wishes that shape the fierce longing in his heart. All he has to do is sell the great pearl. This is where he crashes against the cold, hard reality of the pearl buyers¿ cunning and business ethics. He suspects that they are trying to cheat him out of the fortune that is rightfully his. From here on out, events take a dark and uncontrollable speed and power of their own. Suffice to say that there was a feeling of doom that arose about 2/3rds into the story, and persisted- with good reason. Your heart fears for the young fisherman and his strong, patient, dedicated wife. The brutal weight of the years of slavery and subjugation ring out in many of the passages, and it is a sad undertone to the theme.Ultimately, the story of Kino and the pearl is one of desire vs. greed, and the simple dream of a young man to better the lot of his family and to protect them. Steinbeck, with his masterly touch, paints the characters and the villages and the sea so vividly that it¿s quite easy to see why he is such a great. The Pearl is a short, sad read, but one that has the power to stay with you for years.
EnglishGeek13 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of John Steinbeck and will only continue to enjoy his simple, realistic approach to telling a story after reading this fable. Kino is a fisherman in Mexico and has a wife and infant son. Their lives are uncomplicated and set to a song in their souls: Song of Family. One day Kino makes an extraordinary discovery in the form of a magnificent pearl, and the Song of Family is joined by the Song of Evil as Kino faces those who would exploit or threaten him, his family, and the pearl.This is a quick read, and in Stenbeck fashion does not offer any easy answers. The reader is faced with his own moral dilemmas with Kino as both must decide what is right while seeking justice among friends who become enemies. A good read.
rainpebble on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another wonderful Steinbeck."The Pearl" is one John Steinbeck's smallest books. It is also an intense book, but it is very fluid and easy to read. It is about an island man who, like so many others, goes diving daily with no air, down to the depths of the sea to find pearls to help them eke out a very poor living for their families. These poor people live in little shacks and eat the same gruel day after day and their lives are the same day after day. But they seem a happy people none the less. This is the story of the man who finds "the pearl" of every diver's dream and what happens to him and his family after finding the "pearl".It is also an "if I could just" story. One always thinks that if this or that were "just to happen" in their lives, things would be wonderful. If you have just one teensy tiny bit of that rolling around in your brain (or if not), you should read this book. It is magnificent!~!~!I highly recommend it.
elainepx2014 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An exellent book to read. It is about a baby who has been bitten by a scorpian and his parrents are very worried. unti one day, kino his father find the pearl of the world and thinks that the pearl is their good luck. however, after a while, the pearl brings the evill towards them
HankIII on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Each page I accomplished reading was just that much more in the direction of being finished with it. I didn't like it. Now, I have to figure how to teach it...
kim.rau on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kino, and Juana live in a tiny village off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. They decide to go out pearl diving after their baby Coyotito is stung by a scorpion. Miraculously, they find a pearl, that they then try to sell to cheap dealers. Now Kino must make a decision because the longer they hold onto the pearl, the more evil lurks around them. This book was very descriptive and well writen. However, it didn't entertain me much, since I'm not too interested in morals or adulthood.