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Throughout the allegory of The Pearl, John Steinbeck employs animal imagery to suggest the predator/prey relationships of the Indians with the European conquerors. In addition, because the Indians are so closely connected with the land and the earth, metaphoric comparisons of them to animals are often employed to add to the metaphoric sentiments of the novel.
In Chapter VI, for instance, after Kino and his family retreat to the high rocks in an effort to hide from their pursurers, Kino realizes that he must defend his family. So he goes out into the dark in order to get to the man with the gun who watches over the two other men who sleep curled like dogs, animal of prey, certainly. Kino "edged like a slow lizard down the smooth rock shoulder." After he leaves, Juana creeps to the entrance and looks out. "She peered like an owl from the hole in the mountain...." and she prays for her husband summoning spirits, too, to protect Kino against the "black unhuman things."
Certainly, the animal imagery heightens the danger of the situation in Chapter Vi as well as figuratively describing the relationships and their meanings in Steinbeck's "parable."
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