Saturday, January 9, 2010
The Pearl is a story that everyone can relate to. Kino is a poor man with a beautiful little family. He has a wife, Juana and their precious little baby Coyotito. The start of the book is very idealic as we see their familial bliss and quiet peaceful life. They seem very happy and completely in love with their little baby and each other. From the very beginning Steinbeck talks about the music that Kino hears in his mind/heart, that accompanies the storyline like a soundtrack.
While they are gazing upon their baby in his little swinging box, they suddenly see a scorpian hanging from one of the ropes. This is another of Steinbeck's many gifts, I believe, creating extremely tension filled suspenseful moments that have you holding your breath. Before they can decide how to rid the rope of the scorpian, it falls into the crib and stings their son.
What follows is their attempt to find help for their baby, and they seek to gain the expertise of a very corrupt local (and only) doctor. Clearly they have no money, and therefore he has no interest in treating their son, whose arm is now swelling at an alarming rate.
Kino is then determined to find a way to pay the doctor, and they take their little boat and begin harvesting oysters in the hopes that one will reveal a pearl with which to pay the doctor.
Will they find a pearl to save their son?
As usual I do not want to include a complete summary of the novella, so you can go in fresh. There are PLENTY of places online to find a summary of the book if you want, as The Pearl is a classic and is many times chosen for classroom study.
What I can tell you is that I loved it. It completely enveloped me and carried me along this harrowing journey of innocence, despair, hope, greed and corruption. I felt my heart soar and sink with each passing page. The power of Steinbeck's writing is incredible, and I plan on immediately reading East of Eden now, and it will fit nicely into 3 of my challenges as well!
I hope you have a chance to read this, and anyone you love. It is such a powerful story and a testament that a book does not have to be large to be masterful.