What are the similarities between Kino and the Doctor in the book The Pearl?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Without question, the differences between Kino and the Doctor in the book are far greater than the similarities.  The Doctor belongs to the class of oppressors, while Kino is the oppressed; this fact in itself places the Doctor and Kino at opposite ends of the spectrum in the village of La Paz.  Interestingly, however, there are definite similarities in the characters and situations of the Doctor and Kino.  Both characters have a dream, and both are susceptible to the ravages of greed in order to achieve their dreams.

The Doctor longs to return to Europe, but lacks the funds to achieve his desire.  He lives in constant dissatisfaction, exploiting the village people, serving only those whom he thinks can pay him.  The first time Kino seeks his help, the Doctor rudely turns him away because he does not have money, but when the Doctor hears that Kino has found the great pearl, he suddenly goes to his humble home, hypocritically promising to save Coyotito with his medical expertise.  The Doctor will go to great lengths in his unscrupulous pursuit of wealth so that he can make his dreams come true.

Kino's situation is of course not the same as the Doctor's.  Kino lives a poor, simple life, while the Doctor lives in luxury.  Although it can be argued that Kino's dream of a better life for his son is more legitimate than the Doctor's to return to Europe, the depth to which Kino must sink in pursuit of his dream is strikingly similar to that to which the Doctor descends.  Kino becomes consumed with the desire to become rich through the sale of his pearl.  In his furious quest to attain what he feels he rightfully deserves, he becomes a violent man, beating his wife when she tries to deter him from his objective, and finally, killing a man.  Reflecting the inherent tendency of man never to be satisfied with what he has, Kino soon discovers that "the pearl has become (his) soul...if (he) give(s) it up (he) shall lose (his) soul" (Chapter 5).  Both the Doctor and Kino want more than they have been given, and are corrupted by the destructive forces of greed.

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