What role do Juana and Kinno play in each other's relationship in The Pearl by Steinbeck?examples as well, please

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Juana acts as a foil to her husband, Kinno.  In a sense, she plays the traditional role of the mother as the heart of the family.  She is cautious in her attitudes, feeling that it is "not good to want a thing too much" when Kino dives for the big pearl that can pay a doctor.  After Kino finds the "Pearl of the World,"she goes immediately to the child and shows her husband her discovery that the swelling of the scorpion bite is receding.

She senses the evil much before Kino.  When the doctor comes, in a symbolic gesture, she "stood up from the fire and backed away as he entered, and she covered the baby's face with the fring of her shawl."  And, while Kino hears "the music of evil," Juana intuitively understands,

"This thing is evil...This pearl is like a sin! It will destroy us." (Part III)

As the evil events unfold, Juana tries to rescue "something of the old peace, of the time before the pearl," while Kino vows not to be cheated.  Juana understands that the spiritual values of family are far more important than any material values. In this way, Juana and Kino serve to develop Steinbeck's theme of the evil of materialism as Kino's naivete perpetuates the danger and Juana's intuitive sense cautions against it.


mkcapen1 | Student

In the book The Pearl by John Steinbeck, Juana  and Kinno are husband and wife.  Juana is a passive quiet domestic woman.  They are both Indians living in a relatively poor village.  As the wife and mother of their child, Juana plays the role as cook and caregiver for the child.  She is also the more thoughtful of the two and has a calming effect on her husband.  She is also the one who tries to tell her husband that the pearl brings them nothing good.

Kinno is the macho husband.  He dives for pearls as a means to support his family.  He has a hot temper evidenced when he hits the side of the doctor's gate.  He is more quick to become greedy when he finds the pearl.  He is relatively smart in that he knows not to let himself be tricked by the pearl dealers in his village.  He is also capable of killing in order to save his family.  In some ways he is weaker than his wife.  He is easily changed by the pearl.  He is his wife and child's provider and takes great pride in her as a wife and their son.