The Pearl Questions and Answers
by John Steinbeck

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What imagery is used in The Pearl by John Steinbeck?

In The Pearl, Steinbeck uses imagery to describe the beauty of the pearl itself, comparing it to the moon, a seagull's egg, and other important objects such as the scorpion and Kino's canoe.

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In The Pearl, John Steinbeck uses vivid imagery to enhance the effect of various symbolic objects. The most important of these is clearly the pearl itself. When it is first revealed, Steinbeck says,

Kino lifted the flesh, and there it lay, the great pearl, perfect as the moon. It captured the light and refined it and gave it back in silver incandescence. It was as large as a sea-gull's egg. It was the greatest pearl in the world.

The beauty and size of the pearl are immediately emphasized in similes comparing it to the moon and to a seagull's egg. The pearl even refines the light into something purer and more beautiful. This description goes some way towards justifying the intense psychological hold the pearl has over Kino, even as it destroys his life and family.

Unlike the pearl, which is introduced as pure and beautiful, the scorpion is evidently evil from the moment it appears in Kino's home:

It stopped, and its tail rose up over its back in little jerks and the curved thorn on the tail's...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 850 words.)

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