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The Pearl by John Steinbeck

The Pearl (original 1947; edition 1947)

by John Steinbeck

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8,024116400 (3.48)1 / 309
Title:The Pearl
Authors:John Steinbeck
Info:Penguin Books (2000), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 96 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Pearl by John Steinbeck (1947)

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English (104)  French (3)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (116)
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Steinbeck has this great style - very matter-of-fact, but beautiful at the same time. Steinbeck is exploring a Mexican folk tale on a more personal level, relating it to Kino's quest for riches and success: "It is not a good thing to want too much. It sometimes drives the luck away. You must want it just enough, and you must be very tactful with God or the gods."

Kino is very in tune with the Earth, the village, and his family. Everything gave off a song to Kino - good or evil: "...This was part of the family song too. It was all part. Sometimes it rose to an aching chord that caught the throat, saying this is safety, this is warmth, this is the Whole."

When Kino's infant son, Coyotito, is bit by a scorpion, he and his wife immediately set out for the nearest doctor, who never sees the poor people from the village. Kino's family takes their boat out to go pearl diving, in hopes of finding enough quality pearls to afford a doctor's visit.

Kino does find a pearl - the biggest, most beautiful pearl anyone in the village has ever seen. But when he tries to sell it, the buyers want to rip him off. He refuses their offer and returns home, but now all the villagers are filled with greed and want the pearl. They try to steal it, they beat Kino and burn his house. The village, once peaceful, is now unsettled, and so is Kino and the music in his head: "'Who do you fear?'
Kino searched for a true answer, and at last he said, 'Everyone.' And he could feel a shell of hardness drawing over him."

Kino and his family decide to leave the village - to try and sell the pearl in a richer area as well as to escape all who are trying to harm them. Juana keeps noticing changes in her husband's demeanor - he has become crazed and violent, but she still loved him: "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."

Overall, it's the typical warning of how greed will spoil you and ruin your life, things you have are more important than what you want, etc etc. But it's well-written and enjoyable. ( )
1 vote howifeelaboutbooks | Nov 4, 2015 |
I only started it because it was short, I'm not a big fan of Steinbeck. It was ok, a critique of capitalism but done in Steinbeck's usual 'hammer home the message' style. ( )
1 vote ColinThompson | Oct 18, 2015 |
This book is a reminder of what really matters most in life.
It shows how greed can take over a person's life;
how material possessions can change people.
How strong is your integrity? Your belief? Your happiness?
Would it change you? ( )
  Haidji | Oct 5, 2015 |
"Review soon." ( )
  AdemilsonM | Sep 2, 2015 |
To be honest, I never did enjoy this book when I first read it. It was English class at highschool, we'd read Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath" earlier in the year and now did the Pearl, and the two books remain tied with "Friedrich" for most depressing novels we read in school. But I digress: The book itself is well-written, short, but gets its point across very well. Native islander Kino finds a marvelous pearl in the sea while diving one day, and misfortune and death follows his taking of it as his world becomes upended entirely by man's greed- both that of others and his own. It is a classic, but one that is simply so incredibly dreary and brutal that I simply cannot find it in myself to enjoy this book. The scene wherein he hits his wife is one I still have trouble reading, but I suppose that may be the point of it. All in all, a classic- but one I did not enjoy. ( )
  LisDavid15 | Jul 30, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (114 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Steinbeckprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baldiz, FranciscoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elizondo, HectorNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goedegebuure, JaapIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muller, FrankNarratorsecondary 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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:46 -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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2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141185120, 0141332913, 0143566415, 0241952468


An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

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