How is the town described in John Steinbeck's The Pearl?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Unlike the cluster of brush houses where Kino and his family dwell, the city is made of stone and plaster and has beautiful courtyards and fountains. There is a plaza with a church, also.

When Kino and Juana's baby Coyotito is bitten by a scorpion, they fear for the boy's life and need a doctor, but the doctor will not condescend to come to the cluster of brush houses where they live. So, they start for the city where the doctor dwells in a magnificent home; soon, neighbors and the curious follow them in what becomes a procession. Then, they reach a place where the brush houses end; now, it is stone and plaster under their feet. They are in the city. There are "stern outer walls" around the houses, hiding them from the peasants. Inside the courtyards, there are lovely bougainvillea, vines that cover the walls with purple, red, and white fountains. The songs of caged birds can be heard, along with the splashing of water from fountains as it strikes the hot flagstones of the courtyard. In the town, of course, is a large church, at the front of which rest the beggars, "great experts in financial analysis"; these beggars assess Kino and his family as "poverty people" and follow them to learn "what kind of drama might develop." Others merely sleep at their posts in the recesses of the church. (Ch. I)