Can I have an analysis and review of the characters of Kino and Juana in Chapter V of The Pearl??

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Chapter V details significant changes in both Kino and Juana. Kino's obsession with the pearl has changed him from a loving husband to Juana into one who feels unthinking rage against her. When Juana attempts to throw the pearl back into the sea, Kino responds as an animal, striking her in the face with his fist and baring his teeth at her as "[h]e hissed at her like a snake." When the anger leaves him, Kino is sickened and disgusted with himself. Shortly thereafter, Kino kills an attacker to protect the pearl, an act that turns himself and his family into fugitives, and marks the turning point in the novel. Kino himself explains how the pearl has changed him:

This pearl has become my soul . . . If I give it up I shall lose my soul.

Juana continues to play her submissive role in Chapter V, but a significant change occurs in her character, also. As Kino's wife, she accepts him--even in his rage as he attacks her:

She knew there was murder in him, and it was all right; she had accepted it, and she would not resist or even protest.

Juana will follow Kino, wherever he takes her and their baby. However, there is strength in Juana that shows itself in Chapter V. After Kino kills his attacker, it is Juana who hides the body, soothes her husband "as she would quiet a sick child," and makes him understand that they must flee. Juana had not lost her soul to the pearl. She had struggled valiantly to retain their old life, but she faces the reality of their new circumstances:

All of the time Juana had been trying to rescue something of the old peace, of the time before the pearl. But now it was gone, and there was no retrieving it. And knowing this, she abandoned the past instantly. There was nothing to do but to save themselves.

As Kino and Juana then run for their lives, trying to save themselves and their baby, each has become a significantly different person.

 

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