The Pearl Questions and Answers
by John Steinbeck

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What new song does Kino hear in Chapter II of The Pearl?

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mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Chapter II of The Pearl, Kino hears the song of "the Pearl that Might Be."

In order to earn a living, Kino dives for pearls with the boat his grandfather once owned. So, when the upper class doctor will not attend to his baby son, Kino decides to search for a big pearl that can provide him the money he needs to pay for the services of this physician. 

On the next day, Kino and Juana slide the canoe into the sea until they are over the oyster bed where he sees the light filter down into the water. After he submerges himself, Kino is careful not to stir the water so that he can see to tear the oysters loose. As he works, Kino feels a song in him in because his people possess songs within them. His song first is the pounding of his heart; but within his song is "a secret little inner song": "the Song of the Pearl That Might Be."

As he dives, Kino's heart beats heavily when he discovers a shell that is partially open, and in this muscle Kino sees "a ghostly gleam," and then the shell closes.

His heart beat out a heavy rhythm and the melody of the maybe pearl shrilled in his ears.

Kino pries loose this oyster and rises to the surface with it. After he opens it, he sees that it is perfect and as large as the egg of a sea gull: "It was the greatest pearl in the world." Elated, Kino feels that he now possesses the "Pearl That Might Be" and the physician will treat his son and some of his dreams may now come true.

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schulzie eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In the first chapter, we see Kino relaxed and enjoying his family.  His mind sings the song of the family.  When he sees the scorpion, his mind sings the Song of Evil. In his culture, his mind sings many songs depending on his feelings.

In the second chapter, Kino and Juana go out in the canoe to go pearl diving.  There is a song in the background that is basically a song of diving and the water. 

" he filled his basket the song was in Kino, and the beat of the song was his pounding heart as it ate the oxygen from his held breath, and the melody of the song was the gray-green water and the little scuttlilng animals and clouds of fish...." (pg 17)

This song is called the Song of the Undersea.(pg 18)   However, in this song there is a secondary song.  It is the Song of the Pearl That Might Be.(pg 17)   Every oyster they pulled up from the ocean floor might have a pearl in it. The odds were against it, but they still were looking for that one giant, perfect pearl.  Kino found the giant pearl, and it allowed him to dream dreams he had never imagined for himself and his family ----- and it was his downfall.

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