What is the narrative purpose of the preface at the start of the novel The Pearl? 

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The beginning of the novel is intended to demonstrate how timeless and allegorical it is.

The story begins with a brief description of the family.  This is important because family is key in this story.  It is the little three person family against the word.  It also describes how important the pearl is to the family, and how important the story is to the town.  Then, he goes on to introduce it with ellipses.

If this story is a parable, perhaps everyone takes his own meaning from it and reads his own life into it. In any case, they say in the town that..."

The ellipses reinforce the idea that the story goes on and on.  It is timeless, and has been repeated in one form or another from the beginning of time to the end of time.  The reader should pay attention to the story because it demonstrates the effects of greed on a town.