What is the meaning of this extract in the John Steinbeck's novel The Pearl?"...but I wonder if you will find it any different in the capital?" Discuss the meaning of the extract in more detail....

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is Kino's friend Juan Tomas who says, "but I wonder if you will find it any different in the capital".  This statement illustrates the isolation in which the village exists.  The people who live in the village have no idea what life is like beyond their immediate surroundings.

Kino had just presented his pearl to the pearl buyers in the village.  The price they had offered him was ridiculously low;  it is obvious even to Kino that they are out to cheat him in order to make money for themselves, or for their bosses.  The buyer's eyes are "as steady and cruel and unwinking as a hawk's eyes, while the rest of his face smile(s) in greeting...and secretly, behind his desk, his right hand practice(s) with (a) coin". 

The people in the village know that they "are cheated from birth to the overcharge on (their) coffins", but have long accepted this reality as a fact of life.  To venture beyond the borders of their narrow world "is new ground", and they "do not know the way".  Kino himself is "terrified of that monster of strangeness they (call) the capital", but he does not want to be cheated either.  As Juan Tomas advises him, Kino does not know "what prices are paid in other places", so he cannot really know what is a fair price.

Kino resolves to take his pearl to the capital, a bold and potentially dangerous undertaking.  The people are taught by the church that to try "to leave their station" is an act "against religion" that will be met by punishment, and so the villagers are afraid to venture out to widen their horizons.  Kino does not know what life in the capital is like; as Juan Tomas warns him, things may be the same there as they are at home in the village.  Still, Kino is determined, having left the old ways in his heart already.  He feels that he has no choice but to venture forth on "new ground", even if it might be little different in its corruption and oppression from the world as he knows it (Chapter 4).