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What is the main theme in The Pearl by John Steinbeck?

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harjol | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 10, 2008 at 1:37 PM via web

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What is the main theme in The Pearl by John Steinbeck?

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 10, 2008 at 1:59 PM (Answer #1)

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One major theme of the novel is the idea that evil cannot be defeated by one person alone. Juana and Kino represent the good and the members of the town, including the doctor and the pearl buyers, represent evil. Evil is allowed to thrive in the town because the evil men work together. When Kino faces them, he faces them alone. Because Kino chose to fight evil by himself, he loses. Had he been able to gather support from his village, he might have been able to ward off the men trying to take the pearl away from him. But Kino and his people don't seem to be able to work together to reach a goal. The only time they come together is to watch what happens to Kino. Some of them could have gone with Kino to the capitol, but Kino chooses to go by himself, with just his wife and baby by his side. He ends up losing his son and throwing the pearl away because of his inability to fight evil by himself.

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