what is the setting when coyotito got bitten by the scorpion?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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In chapter 1 of the novel The Pearl , by John Steinbeck, we find quite an idyllic scene that takes place at Kino's house. The family, made of Kino, his wife Juana, and their baby, Coyotito, enjoys its morning time. Things are described quite naturally; all is slow in the morning, and quite uneventful. Kino blesses quietly the peaceful yet poor surroundings that are only tolerable because of the love that he bears for his family. This is all a literary device used to forshadow that things are about to change pretty son: And they do.

As Kino quietly enjoys a very humble breakfast of corn cakes and sauce, he suddenly notices that a scorpion has been lurking quietly down the rope where Coyotito's box is located. Although Kino tries to catch the scorpion before it falls on Coyotito, it is too late. The scorpion does fall on Coyotito's shoulder, stings him, and the battle begins. The doctor would not see Kino due to his prejudice against Kino's people, and because Kino is poor. This is the setting that Steinbeck would consider ideal for the development of this tale of society versus man, and of social injustice. It also helps to understand why Kino takes so personal the possession of the pearl, and why it represents to him much more than just financial freedom: The pearl is power; the power that eludes Kino everywhere he goes. To have the pearl is to possess the world. That is why it ends up being such a bitter-sweet surprise in the life of Kino's family.

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