What lessons are to be learned by Kino's actions in "The Pearl"?

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Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As a parable, the story has a moral lesson embedded within its narrative.  The lesson is fairly simple but seemingly a difficult one for human beings to master:  money cannot buy happiness. 

A poor fisherman, Kino's discovery of the "Pearl of the World" immediately catapults him into reality of dreams he never thought possible: an education for his son, Coyotitio, an elevated life for his family, both socially and economically, and contentment overall.  However, it is not long before the greed-mongers (symbolized by the pearl merchant and the priest) turn his dream into a nightmare. 

Before the acquisition of the pearl, his life had been simple and poor yet the little family enjoyed a closeness, had many friends, and did not want for much beyond basic survival needs. 

The pearl changes all that; basic necessities are no longer enough.  Kino and Juana become distant, the baby is sick, their neighbors jealous.  Although Juana sees clearly that the pearl has brought nothing but misery, (like Gollum in Lord of the Rings) Kino has become obsessed with his treasure. 

It will take Kino's murdering of an "intruder," the burning of their home and the death of Coyotito to open Kino's eyes.  The dazzle and spell of money, despite all evidence to the contrary, continues to blind humanity with its false promises.