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

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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.