Where do we see the motif of the stronger preying upon the weak in The Pearl? What effect does this have on the characters' lives?Creatures naturally prey on those who are weaker than themselves....

Where do we see the motif of the stronger preying upon the weak in The Pearl? What effect does this have on the characters' lives?

Creatures naturally prey on those who are weaker than themselves. Try to give examples from the book and from real life to support your answers.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In John Steinbeck's parable of The Pearl, evil becomes objectified in the pearl because of how men manipulate it to their ends, just as men use other men for their greed or other vices. Moreover, the pearl becomes a metaphor for man, who in his natural state is innocent and of raw beauty. However, the value of this beauty is created only in what is assigned by man.  It is at this point that exploitation occurs and the  socially or economically stronger men prevail.  

When Kino finds the pearl, it is stunningly beautiful to him. But, when he shows the Pearl of the World to the cunning and avaricious pearl dealers, he is told that the pearl is flawed because in their exploitation of Kino as the stronger economically and socially men, they can assign whatever value they wish to the pearl with the intention of taking it from Kino for much less than it is worth.

Another method of establishing the roles of the stronger taking advantage of the weaker is in the final chapter as the trackers are superior to Kino and his family since they possess horses and guns.  For, it is the rifle that kills the baby Coyotito, kills as though one were shooting a coyote. And, the horse provides the trackers with swiftness in following Kino and Juana, who must travel on foot and defend themselves only with their wits and a knife.

Certainly, wealth is power and the men with it do not wish for those who are improverished like Kino to rise above their station.  Rather, they desire to take any opportunity from those beneath them in order to ensure that they will remain subservient to them.  The Pearl of the World represents this power.

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