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The Pearl by John Steinbeck

The Pearl (original 1947; edition 2000)

by John Steinbeck

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7,467None462 (3.47)1 / 272
Title:The Pearl
Authors:John Steinbeck
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (2000), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 96 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, Mexican folktale, novel, YA

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The Pearl by John Steinbeck (1947)

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English (88)  French (3)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (100)
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This short story, which reads like a fable, is the story of Kino, a poor pearl diver, & the horrific events put in motion when he finds what the villagers call The Pearl of the World. It's for the reader to decide for himself or herself whether the pearl itself is inherently evil or cursed, & brings the unfortunate events down on Kino & his family, or if it is just men who are evil that would steal this from him. Either way, the story ends badly for Kino, & strangely..... ( )
1 vote Lisa.Johnson.James | Apr 13, 2014 |
The Steinbeck classic, apparently based on a Mexican folktale, is a short, but powerful story of an impoverished village and the greedy who keep them so. Though few in pages, the characterization and sense of place are very strong. ( )
  countrylife | Feb 4, 2014 |
This was a compulsory book for English during my final year of highschool. I absolutely abhor this book and end up taking an extra subject on English Literature on the same year. It was the years I had to stay in Terengganu's school and I remembered distinctly that half of the class have difficulties with the language and the teacher was adamant to simplify the book into something that is favourable to the kampung kids in Malay with Terengganurian accent no less.

The story unfolds beautifully with the seas and surrounding of Mexican settlement but then the paranoia sets in when one man found the most beautiful and largest pearl he had. With the treasure he had in his hand, his imagination and paranoia began to drift him towards insanity as he began to distrust everyone around him. He eventually escaped with his family and tragedy strikes him in the most unimaginable way.

Its not one of the greatest by Steinback (even if it was a retelling of a story) but it did provide some food for thoughts. But I sincerely I hope the ministry of education would come up with another book as there was too much tragedies in the syllabus alone. ( )
  aoibhealfae | Sep 23, 2013 |
One of the interesting parts of this book is the length. It is a really short book, but the story moves at a different pace than books to which we are accustomed today. I am more than 3/4s of the way through the book and I have the sense that the actions happening now would be in the first or second chapter of a modern book.

I always think of reading classics as something I should do because it is good for my mind rather than being entertaining and relaxing. This book is really beautifully written and, while tense and sad, is not a slog at all.

This book talks about consequences, discrimination, the sadness of life, the futility of non-conformity and how some people will go to any length to get what they want.

One interesting thing about this book is the inclusion of the 'songs' - the Song of the Family, the Song of the Pearl, etc. It occurred to me that we all must have songs of these types going on in our head, especially in that space where suddenly we pull back from being in our body and observe the world around us with our minds, like an impartial observer.

There were a couple of passages that really moved me as well. One was about the relationship between men and women. The passage is preceded by Kino striking Juana. "There was no anger in her for Kino. He had said, 'I am a man,' and that meant certain things to Juana. It meant that he was half insane and half god. It meant that Kino would drive his strength against a mountain and plunge his strength against the sea. Juana, in her woman's soul, knew that the mountain would stand while the man broke himself; that the sea would surge while the man drowned in it. And yet it was this thing that made him a man, half insane and half god, and Juana had need of a man; she could not live without a man. Although she might be puzzled by these differences between man and woman, she knew them and accepted them and needed them. Of course, she would follow him, there was no question of that."

This passage shows an understanding of people that is gorgeous and sophisticated. Also, [a:John Steinbeck|585|John Steinbeck|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1182118389p2/585.jpg]'s writing captures feelings and understanding in a taut few paragraphs of writing.

Another passage that was very sensible and beautiful started "All of the time Juana had been trying to rescue something of the old peace, of the time before the pearl. But now it was gone, and there was no retrieving it. And knowing this she abandoned the past instantly. There was nothing to do, but to save themselves." Juana is a practical woman in a lot of ways. Her strength lies in giving wise counsel and knowing when to say nothing. She is a wise and elegant character.

Steinbeck's descriptions are wonderful. He uses adjectives skillfully and artfully.

I think I probably read this book in school at some point, but I really don't remember reading it. We had a school that loved to not assign the classics, so it is possible that I didn't read it. I am glad I found it again.
( )
  jlapac | Aug 14, 2013 |
A folktale of lower California is the basis for this narrative about Kino, a simple pearl fisherman, who finds an enormous pearl that promises to provide for all his family's needs. But Kino soon learns that this find brings nothing but misfortune. This misfortune prompts Kino to throw the large pearl back into the sea and resume his difficult way of life. As many learn, those who are greedy are never happy. ( )
  hermit | Jul 14, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (42 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Steinbeckprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Elizondo, HectorNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goedegebuure, JaapIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Orozco, Jose ClementeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Veltman-Boissevain, E.D.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wagner-Martin, LindaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Kino woke up early in the morning.
It is said that human beings are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more. And this is said in disparagement, whereas it is one of the greatest talents the species has and one that has made it superior to animals that are satisfied with what they have.
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Please do not combine abridged version into the main work.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142000698, Paperback)

Make this your next book club selection and everyone saves.
Get 15% off when you order 5 or more of this title for your book club.
Simply enter the coupon code STEINBECKPEARL at checkout.
This offer does not apply to eBook purchases. This offer applies to only one downloadable audio per purchase.

In this short book illuminated by a deep understanding and love of humanity, John Steinbeck retells an old Mexican folk tale: the story of the great pearl, how it was found, and how it was lost. For the diver Kino, finding a magnificent pearl 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 cannot temper his obsession or stem the events leading to the tragedy.

For Steinbeck, Kino and his wife illustrate the fall from innocence of people who believe that wealth erases all problems. Originally published in 1947, The Pearl shows why Steinbeck’s style has made him one of the most beloved American writers: it is a simple story of simple people, recounted with the warmth and sincerity and unrivaled craftsmanship Steinbeck brings to his writing. It is tragedy in the great tradition, beautifully conveying not despair but hope for mankind.

The Great Books Foundation Discussion Guide for The Pearl is available at www.greatbooks.org.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:27 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

For the diver Kino, finding a magnificent pearl means the promise of 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 cannot temper his obsession or stem the events leading to tragedy. Kino and his wife illustrate the fall from innocence of people who believe that wealth erases all problems.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Two editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

Four editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141185120, 0141332913, 0143566415, 0241952468

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