Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Kino, a young Mexican-Indian pearl diver at the peak of his physical powers. With black, unruly hair, keen dark eyes, and a coarse, ragged mustache, Kino is lithe and strong, able to gather oysters underwater for a full two minutes without surfacing and to move about, catlike and undetected, in the dark and on rough terrain. Devoted to his wife, Juana, and his infant son, Coyotito, and proud of his position as head of his family and initially content with the traditional life of his ancestors, Kino has dreams and needs that are at first simple. When he seeks treatment for Coyotito’s scorpion bite from the white doctor and is scornfully dismissed, however, anger awakens in him. After he finds a magnificent pearl, he quickly becomes more aware of his people’s powerlessness and ignorance as he encounters contempt, deceit, greed, and brutality in the bigger world where he goes to sell his glorious treasure. As the threats to his pearl and his family’s safety become more pressing, Kino’s serenity and innocence are replaced by rage, fear, cunning, and the instinct to kill. In the end, having murdered four men and lost his hut, his beloved inherited canoe, and, above all, his precious infant son, a stone-hearted Kino hurls the malignant pearl back into the sea.
Juana, Kino’s young wife, who dresses simply, out of necessity, wearing a ragged blue skirt, carrying her son slung in her shawl, and tying her dark braids with faded green ribbons. A wedding outfit, folded away, awaits better days. A silent young woman with watchful dark eyes, Juana is self-effacing and submissive to Kino, giving herself over to caring skillfully for her husband and son. A pragmatist, she prays for protection both to traditional gods and to the Christian God...
(The entire section is 733 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of The Pearl Characters. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!