Animal Imagery Used Throughout The Pearl By John Steinbeck

944 words - 4 pages

John Steinbeck in his parable-like novel The Pearl embraces the dark power of greed, which ultimately results in destruction. Kino, a simple Mexican pearl diver who provides for his wife Juana and baby boy Coyotito, finds a pearl, which he hopes will provide his family a better life, but instead shatters his life when his only child is killed by the men who are hunting him. Using a biblical style, uncomplicated language, and rich imagery, Steinbeck relates this story to universal values. In The Pearl, animal imagery is an essential motif that infiltrates the structure of the novel. Steinbeck utilizes animal imagery to foreshadow Kino's catastrophe, to illustrate Kino's character decline, and ...view middle of the document...

John Steinbeck also uses the motif of animal imagery to demonstrate Kino's character deterioration in The Pearl. For example, when the "thin, timid dog came close and, at a soft word from Kino, curled up, arranged its tail neatly over its feel," Kino was experiencing a perfect morning in his little hut (pg 3). This represents how kind and welcoming Kino is at the beginning of the novel before the evil of the pearl distorts his outlook on life. Kino was willing to share the warmth of his home with a creature in need, and he looked out for other people beside himself before the pearl. After Kino found the pearl, "the thin dog came to him and threshed itself in greeting like a windblown flag, and Kino looked down at it and didn't see it" (pg 28). Apparently, Kino now possesses the pearl, and his life is already beginning to change for the worse. All Kino can see at the moment is the pearl and its beauty; he cannot even acknowledge the same thin dog that came to his home for warmth earlier in the story. Finding the pearl has turned Kino evil and against everyone, even his own wife at whom "he hissed at her like a snake" (pg 60). Juana was trying to save her family by destroying the pearl, but it only made Kino's yearning to discover happiness in the pearl even stronger. Kino has become a snake filled with the greed of the pearl.The most significant aspect of this motif, however, is the corruption of the town. For example, "heard from the secret gardens was the singing of...

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