Discuss how Steinbeck employs the pearl as a multi-faceted symbol.

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scucsb22 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

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The pearl takes on different appearances throughout the story. In the beginning the pearl is clear and beautiful and provides hope for Kino and his family. For Kino the pearl embodies his dreams of wealth and prosperity. As the story progresses the pearl becomes evil; causing destruction.  It changes Kino from a hardworking father into a greedy untrusting man. He even becomes violent towards his wife. Juana doesn’t trust the pearl and begs Kino to get rid of it before it destroys them all. However Kino’s greed and the greed of others lead to a series of conflicts over the pearl. Kino is blinded from the fate of keeping the pearl until his son dies; once Kino has lost almost everything he begins to realize how ugly are dark the pearl is.

   I believe the pearl symbolizes something like the lotto. Meaning many people think all their problems will be solved if they had more money. The problem is with money comes more responsibility and still money does not control certain aspects life. Money will not prevent death or hardships. Money cannot make you happy and in some cases prevents you from trusting anyone who wants to be close to you. In essence Kino would have lived a much happier life if he had never found pearl.

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