What significance does repetition have in the lives of Kino and Juana?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning of the novella, Kino awakens and steps outside of his hut to watch the sun rise above the ocean. He enjoys the picturesque view and hears the soft, comforting Song of the Family. As Juana builds a small fire and works the corn for the morning cakes, Kino sits peacefully in the sand with his blanket wrapped around his body. Steinbeck writes,

It was a morning like other mornings and yet perfect among mornings. (2)

The repetition in Kino and Juana's life is significant and represents the peace and comfort they have on an everyday basis. Despite the fact that the family is not wealthy by society's standards, there is peace and happiness in their lives. Steinbeck contrasts the couple's harmonious life to their chaotic, dangerous life after Kino finds the Pearl of the World. Once Kino finds the massive pearl, he thinks about the future opportunities for his family after he sells the valuable pearl. Unfortunately, the pearl invites chaos and violence into Kino's home and his life changes for the worse. The family's peaceful, repetitive life on the beach is compromised because Kino refuses to get rid of the evil pearl.

Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As the novel opens, Kino awakens before dawn in the small brush hut where he lives with his wife Juana and their baby, Coyotito. He sees Juana moving around, starting the fire to prepare breakfast and tending to the baby. Kino goes outside and walks down to the beach. He hears the waves lapping on the sand, hears the morning birds, and smells the corncakes Juana is cooking inside. Kino is at peace, hearing what Steinbeck calls the Song of the Family. Kino feels "this is safety, this is warmth, this is the Whole." Kino's morning has begun just as it begins every day with the repetition of these experiences. HeĀ finds peace and security in the repetition, the familiarity of his life.

Once the great pearl comes into Kino's life, this repetition of daily life is destroyed. He and Juana are forced by events to leave their home, their village, and all that has given them comfort and security. The Song of the Family is destroyed by evil, greed, and--ironically--by Kino's desire to provide more for his family. Too late, he realizes that he and Juana had possessed all that was truly important.