What are the reactions of the townspeople to the discovery of the pearl (the priest, shopkeepers, doctor, beggars, pearl buyers)?

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schulzie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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In the beginning of chapter three it tells of the news spreading throughout the town.  Steinbeck compares it to an animal.  He says

"News seems to move faster than small boys can scramble and dart to tell it, faster than women can call it over the fence." (pg 21)

So it gets to all the townspeople. 

Priest: When the priest hears it, he gets thoughtful and thinks of all the repairs the church needs.  He wonders how much the pearl would be worth. 

"And he wondered whether he had baptised Kino's baby, or married him for that matter." (pg 21-22)

He doesn't even know if he did these things, but now it seems important.  Maybe he can get some of that money to make repairs to the church.

Doctor: The doctor heard it when he was sitting with an elderly woman whose problem was age. He tells the woman,

"He is a client of mine...I am treating his child for a scorpion sting" (pg 22)

We all know that he refused to treat Kino's child for the scorpion sting.  He thinks of Paris--he fantasizes and sees himself sitting in a restaurant in Paris opening a bottle of wine. 

Beggars: The beggars were thrilled with the news. They know that there was nothing as generous with handouts as a poor man who had suddenly gained wealth. They were giggly with anticipation.

Shopkeepers: They were happy and looked over their unsold inventory of men's suits and thought about what they could sell these people with the money.

Pearlbuyers: There really was only one buyer, but he kept agents in several different offices to look like there was competition and variety.

"Each one thought how the patron could not live forever and someone had to take his place.  And each one thought how with some capital (money) he could get a new start." (pg 23)

No one had good thoughts concerning Kino's pearl except Kino and Juana.

"Every man suddenly became related to Kino's pearl, and Kino's pearl went into the dreams, the speculations, the schemes, the plans, the fugures, the wishes, the needs, the lusts, the hungers of everyone, and only one person stood in the way and that was Kino, so that he became curiously every man's enemy" (pg 23)


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