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In the novel The Pearl how does the doctor tell contrast with Kino?

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amirahjasmin | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted September 24, 2012 at 3:10 PM via web

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In the novel The Pearl how does the doctor tell contrast with Kino?

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 24, 2012 at 4:46 PM (Answer #1)

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In the novelThe Pearl,the doctor and Kino are opposite characters which contrast tremendously with each other. This is because of the dramatic separation in, cultural, social and class status between the two. The two man demonstrate a completely opposite system of values, a totally different appearance, and lifestyles that are totally contrasting.

Notice how the doctor represents an unreachable resource that only the few and the lucky can use.

A wonderful thing, a  memorable thing, to want the doctor. To get him would be a remarkable thing. The doctor never came to the cluster of brush houses...

We know from the descriptions that the doctor is not from Kino's race. He is said to be from "a race" which had abused and "frightened" Kino's people for "nearly four hundred years". It is clear then that, while Kino is a native, the doctor is of European descent, given the imperialist description of his people over Kino's.

The doctor is also characterized for being fat (an allegory to his greed)

He was  growing very stout, and his voice was hoarse with the fat that pressed  on his throat

and for talking down to the natives as if they were "animals." Kino clearly resents this.

Because of his higher social status, the doctor can afford to live in a house with fountains, gardens and a high bed. At the time Kino goes to visit, the doctor is wearing silk from Paris, and he is sipping chocolate from china cups. We know that, after confirming that Kino and Juana did not have money to pay for the treatment, he refuses them and tells his servant to say that he has left to treat a "serious" case.

This being said, it is clear that the doctor is the classical fat, irreverent, abusive and greedy cultural bully who sucks the subculture for his own benefit. He is not a doctor of the people, nor for the people. He is just another colonial "god".

Kino is the complete opposite. From the very beginning of the story we know that he is a product of his land and society.

Kino was young and  strong and his black hair hung over his brown forehead. His eyes were warm and fierce and bright and his mustache was thin and coarse

He is referred to as an "Indian", and lives in utter poverty, having as his only sustenance the resources from the sea. He is a fisherman, and his values are evident in that he is supportive and loving of his family. A man who causes no problems to his neighbor, Kino can be classified as a model citizen. This is even more evident when, after the finding of the pearl, Kino begins to change dramatically for the worse. Yet, Kino's good will triumphed over sin for, voluntarily, he got rid of the pearl himself.  

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