The Pearl Questions and Answers
by John Steinbeck

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According to The Pearl, what happened to Kino's house in Chapter 5?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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After returning from the town, Juana attempts to throw the pearl into the ocean, but Kino stops his wife and severely beats her. On his walk back to his hut on the beach, Kino is attacked by a stranger, whom he ends up killing in self-defense. Juana rushes to his aid, recovers the pearl, and explains to Kino that they must immediately flee the village because the authorities will surely arrest him, despite the fact that he was acting in self-defense. Kino then instructs Juana to grab Coyotito and food from their hut before they sail away in his canoe. Unfortunately, one of Kino's enemies ruined his sacred canoe to prevent him from fleeing the village. Kino then runs towards his house and discovers that it is on fire. Juana ends up meeting him with Coyotito in her arms and says that the entire house was ransacked before their enemies set it ablaze. Fortunately, Kino, Juana, and their baby are able to hide in Juan Tomás's hut before escaping the village.

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Michael Foster eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Kino’s house is described as made of brush. He, Juana, and Coyotito live a simple life with few material possessions. When he finds the pearl, there are limited places in which to hide it, but he manages to find several spots, burying it in the dirt floor. When he makes his find known, especially when he refuses to sell it to the local pearl dealers, he has set himself up for the probable theft of the pearl. The doctor, the pearl merchants, even the priest, know he has it, and their greed makes it likely that they will try to steal it, which someone tries to do. Kino has killed one person who has attacked him in order to steal the pearl. Juana attempts to throw the pearl away, fearing that it has brought evil into their home. When they are absent, someone has set fire to their hut. The neighbors fear that they family has been burned to death, but they are in hiding in Juan Thomas’s house.

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