How does the novella's conclusion complete Steinbeck's moral arguments?The Pearl by John Steinbeck

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In the novella, The Pearl by John Steinbeck, the moral arguments that wealth does not buy happiness, and there are no quick fixes to one's problems are, indeed, completed in the conclusion.

While the Pearl of the World provides the opportunity for Kino, the Indian pearl diver, to obtain the assistance of a doctor for his little son who has been bitten by a scorpion, it causes him much consternation. For, Kino is attacked by prowlers and kills one, his house set abaze, and he fights with his wife who wants him to throw the pearl back into the ocean.  Kino tells her, "The pearl is my soul."  When Juan Thomas tells him to sell the pearl, Kino replies that if he sells it, he will lose his soul.  During their attempt to leave the village, they are followed and the boy, Coyotito is shot by an attacker. This accident causes Kino and his wife, who were "one thing and one purpose" to now be divided and become "removed from human experience."

When Kino stands at the water's edge and looks at the pearl, it now appears grey and ugly "like a malignant growth."

And Kino heard the music of the pearl, distorted and insane....[he] drew back his arm and flung the pearl...And the music of the pearl drifted to a whisper and disappeared.

Like Kino and his wife, Juana, the pearl is tarnished, and it has no music.  Without their child, Kino and Juana have no music, no happiness.  They have put too much value on the pearl.


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