The Pearl Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Pearl

    Kino is a poor Indian pearl diver. When his baby, Coyotito, is stung by a scorpion, he fears that he may not make it. One day, when diving, he finds a huge pearl he knows to be worth a lot of money. At first, to him and his wife Juana, the pearl seems like a blessing. But as the book progresses, it's greatness is questioned.
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    After he finds the pearl, life for Kino and his family becomes more complicated. Juana wants to destroy the pearl, but Kino doesn't let her. When a dangerous group of attackers try to kill Kino and his family for the pearl, they find themselves fighting for their lives.
The review of this Book prepared by Kevin Fenacers

The pearl is a book written by John Steinbeck .It tells the story of Kino, a poor Indian fisherman. Kino, his wife Juana, and his son Coyotito live in a small hut made of brush in a poor village town in La Paz, Mexico . One day Coyotito is stung on the shoulder by a poisonous scorpion. Kino, Juana, and their neighbors take Coyotito to the local doctor. The doctor refuses to treat Coyotito because Kino is too poor to pay. Kino became very angry because of the doctor's refusal. The next afternoon Kino decides to go fishing for oysters in search of a pearl. He then finds a large oyster and opens it. Inside the oyster Kino uncovers a giant pearl. Kino then becomes very excited thinking that the pearl will make him become very rich. The villagers quickly learn of Kino's finding of the pearl and become very jealous of him. The same night a thief attempts to steal the pearl and attacks Kino.

Juana convinces Kino that the pearl is evil and will destroy them. The next day Kino goes to town to try and sell the pearl. Kino believes that the pearl is worth 50,000 pesos, but a pearl dealer insists that the pearl is only worth 1,000 pesos. Kino feels he is being cheated and decides to go to the capital city to sell the pearl. That night Kino is attacked by more thieves. Juana once again tries to convince Kino that the pearl will destroy them. Juana tries to throw the pearl into the ocean later that night. Kino finds Juana before the pearl is thrown into the ocean and beats her. Outside a group of men try to knock the pearl out of Kino's hand. Kino then slits one of the men's throat.

Kino and Juana decide to go away because Kino has committed murder even though in their view it was in self-defense. Kino and Juana set out on their journey to the capital city. On their journey Kino believes they are being followed so Kino and Juana hide in the mountains. Juana and Coyotito hide in the cave. Kino goes to find who's following them. When Kino leaves Coyotito starts to cry. The followers assume that Coyotito's cry is a coyote pup. One of the followers shoot in the direction of Coyotito's cry. Kino attacks the followers and kills all three of them. As Kino returns to his wife and son in the cave he discovers that Coyotito is dead. Tragically, the first shot fired by one of the followers killed Coyotito. The next afternoon Kino and Juana return to the village carrying the rifle, the pearl, and their dead son Coyotito. They go to the ocean and throw the pearl into the ocean.

The review of this Book prepared by Nikia

The Pearl is about Kino, Juana and Coyotito. They live in La Paz Mexico in a small shack. They live in the lower class of society, and are not wealthy by any means. And though they are content with their lives, Coyotito, Kino's son gets stung by a Scorpion. Kino goes to find the doctor but finds since he is poor the doctor won't see his son. He decides he needs to go pearl diving to find a pearl to sell to the doctor in exchange for medicine. When Kino finds "the pearl of the world" everybody seems to notice, and people take advantage of the situation.
People try to steal the pearl and put his family in danger. After Kino kills a man, he, his wife and his son are forced to leave La Paz. These turn of events that should've brought Kino and his family up in society, actually brings them down and what was supposed to help his son, ends up killing him.
The review of this Book prepared by melanie

The Pearl, which takes place in La Paz, Mexico, begins with a description of the seemingly idyllic family life of Kino, his wife Juana and their infant son, Coyotito. Kino watches as Coyotito sleeps, but sees a scorpion crawl down the rope that holds the hanging box where Coyotito lies. Kino attempts to catch the scorpion, but Coyotito bumps the rope and the scorpion falls on him. Although Kino kills the scorpion, it still stings Coyotito. Juana and Kino, accompanied by their neighbors, go to see the local doctor, who refuses to treat Coyotito because Kino cannot pay.

Kino and Juana leave the doctors and take Coyotito down near the sea, where Juana uses a seaweed poultice on Coyotito's shoulder, which is now swollen. Kino dives for oysters from his canoe, attempting to find pearls. He finds a very large oyster which, when Kino opens it, yields an immense pearl. Kino puts back his head and howls, causing the other pearl divers to look up and race toward Kino's canoe.

The news that Kino has found an immense pearl travels fast through La Paz. The doctor who refused to treat Coyotito decides to visit Kino. Kino's neighbors begin to feel bitter toward him for his good fortune, but neither Kino nor Juana realize this feeling they have engendered. Juan Tomas, the brother of Kino, asks him what he will do with his money, and he envisions getting married to Juana in a church and dressing Coyotito in a yachting cap and sailor suit. He claims that he will send Coyotito to school and buy a rifle for himself. The local priest visits and tells Kino to remember to give thanks and to pray for guidance. The doctor also visits, and although Coyotito seems to be healing, the doctor insists that Coyotito still faces danger and treats him. Kino tells the doctor that he will pay him once he sells his pearl, and the doctor attempts to discern where the pearl is located (Kino has buried it in the corner of his hut). That night, a thief attempts to break into Kino's hut, but Kino drives him away. Juana tells Kino that the pearl will destroy them, but Kino insists that the pearl is their one chance and that tomorrow they will sell it.

Kino's neighbors wonder what they would do if they had found the pearl, and suggest giving it as a present to the Pope, buying Masses for the souls of his family, and distributing it among the poor of La Paz. Kino goes to sell his pearl, accompanied by his neighbors, but the pearl dealer only offers a thousand pesos when Kino believes that he deserves fifty thousand. Although other dealers inspect the pearl and give similar prices, Kino refuses their offer and decides to go to the capital to sell it there. That night, Kino is attacked by more thieves, and Juana once again reminds Kino that the pearl is evil. However, Kino vows that he will not be cheated, for he is a man.

Later that night, Juana attempts to take the pearl and throw it into the ocean, but Kino finds her and beats her for doing so. While outside, a group of men accost Kino and knock the pearl from his hand. Juana watches from a distance, and sees Kino approach her, limping with another man whose throat Kino has slit. Juana finds the pearl, and they decide that they must go away even if the murder was in self-defense. Kino finds that his canoe has been damaged and their house was torn up and the outside set afire. Kino and Juana stay with Juan Tomas and his wife, Apolonia, where they hide for the next day before setting out for the capital that night.

Kino and Juana travel that night, and rest during the day. When Kino believes that he is being followed, the two hide and Kino sees several bighorn sheep trackers who pass by him. Kino and Juana escape into the mountains, where Juana and Coyotito hide in the cave while Kino, taking his clothes off so that no one will see his white clothing. The trackers think that they hear something when they hear Coyotito crying, but decide that it is merely a coyote pup. After a tracker shoots in the direction of the cries, Kino attacks the three trackers, killing all three of them. Kino can hear nothing but the cry of death, for he soon realizes that Coyotito is dead from that first shot. Juana and Kino return to La Paz. Kino carries a rifle stolen from the one of the trackers he killed, while Juana carries the dead Coyotito. The two approach the gulf, and Kino, who now sees the image of Coyotito with his head blown off in the pearl, throws it into the ocean.

The review of this Book prepared by Sara

Kino, a poor Indian/Mexican pearl diver, enjoys a simple life with his wife Juana and their baby, Coyotito. The baby, bitten by a scorpion, falls ill, and the doctors refuse to treat him. Things look up when Kino discovers a huge, beautiful pearl one day. Incredulous, Kino howls with joy, and suddenly everyone in La Paz is interested in his family and his pearl. Greed contaminates their once simple way of life, as Kino fitfully tries to get 50,000 pesos for a pearl that the dealers only wish to pay one thousand for. The pearl leads Kino to corruption, slitting a man's throat who attempted to take the pearl from him, and eventually the price of the pearl is more higher than they imagined--it is paid in the blood of Coyotito. In redemption and sorrow, Kino returns to La Paz and throws the pearl back to the ocean.
The review of this Book prepared by Angela Allan

Chapter Analysis of The Pearl

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Life of a profession:    -   fisherman Ethnic/Regional/Religion    -   Spanish in America Poverty, surviving    -   Yes Kind of living:    -   general poverty story Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes Ethnic/regional/gender life    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   fisherman Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   Hispanic/Latinic


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   3 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   California The Americas (not US):    -   Yes The Americas:    -   Mexico

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like The Pearl

John Steinbeck Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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