What events result from Kino's having killed a man in The Pearl?The Pearl by John Steinbeck

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After Kino has killed a man who tried to steal the pearl, Juana spots the pearl on the path behind a rock where she also discovers her husband lying beside a man "with dark shiny fuid leaking from his throat."

All of the time Juana had been trying to rescue somehting of the old peace, of the time before the pearl.  But now it was gone, and there was no retrieving it....There was nothing to do but to save themselves.

  • When Juana talks with Kino, she convinces him that no one will believe him if he explains why he killed the man because the men of the city will treat him as a peon. So, he tells her to bring all their corn and he will get the canoe.
  • But, a great hole has been knocked in his canoe so that he can go nowhere on the water. "He was an animal now...and he lived only to preserve himself and his family."
  • Kino hurries back only to find his house on fire.
  • They flee to his brothe's house; he and his wife Apolonia have believed they were burned. But, Kino explains what has happened.
  • All day, a day in which the wind rises, Tomas tells his neighbors, "Kino is gone.  If he went to the sea, he is drowned by now."  But, each time Tomas returns, he has something borrowed.  Once he brings a big knife, and Kino's eyes light up.
  • Kino's family leave Tomas's house in the night. They thread their way around the edge of the city to the north.
  • Kino and Juana and the baby hear the music of evil "And the evils of the night were about them."
  • During the day, they take a short rest, but he discovers the three trackers who follow them.  He tries to sweep away their tracks as much as possible. Kino considers letting the trackers have him, but Juana convinces him that they will kill them all.
  • Kino suggests that they can lose the trackers by going up into the mountains.  "Kino ran for the high place, as nearly all animals do when they are pursued."
  • Still, the three men follow. As darkness falls, Kino observes two sleeping and the third squatted with the gun. 
  • He decides that he must kill this man with the gun. He undresses to be darker in the night and lowers himself down the rock like "a slow lizard."  Juana watches like an owl.
  • Kino arrives too late as the moon has emerged.  He watches the man with the gun light a cigarette. The man hears the cry of Coyotito, thinking it is perhaps a coyote.  He fires his rifle just as Kino leaps upon him, stabbing him.  Then he beats the second man with the rifle and fires it upon the third man who attempts escape. He is "a terrible machine now."
  • Kino then hears the moaning, "the cry of death" from the cave.
  • "It was late in the golden afternoon" when Kino and Juana return to the village of LaPaz.  They walk side by side, carrying a limp, small bundle; it is the body of their baby.
  • Kino and Juana walk "through the city as though it were not there." Still they walk side by side woodenly past their charred home until they reach the shore.
  • Once at the shore, they stop and stare over the Gulf of Mexico. Kino lays down the rifle and pulls from his clothes the great Pearl of the World.  When he looks into it, it is gray and ulcerous. "Evil faces peered from it into his eyes, and he saw the light of burning."
  • The pearl, "ugly...gray like a malignant growth" is in Kino's hand.  He offers it to Juana, but holding her dead bundle over her shoulder, she says, "No, you."  Kino draws back his arm and hurls the pearl into the sea.
  • For a long time they stand side by side watching where the pearl has gone.