What is the tone in chapter five in The Pearl by John Steinbeck?

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

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Chapter 5 of the novel The Pearl, by John Steinbeck, basically consists on the climax of the story of Kinoand Juana.  In this chapter we can sense an overall tone of frustration, persecution,  and chaotic paranoia. After all, this is the part of the story in which Kino's life gets completely turned upside down

First, we see that Juana has awoken before Kino in order to dispose of the pearl without him knowing. Already, we see the first frustrated attempt to help their situation when Kino finds out, chases her and, to make matters even worse, he physically batters her for the first time in their marriage.

Second, we there is yet another frustrated attempt by Kino to keep the pearl safe when he gets assaulted on his way home. The result of his altercate is that he stabs and kills his assailant, and loses the pearl temporarily. It does not matter: Kino will have to pay for the crime of murder whether he has the pearl or not.

Third, Kino and Juana literally lose their home, as they now are marked people, and need to escape. As they take refuge in Kino's brother's house, they realize the weight that the pearl has in Kino's life- he feels as if it is part of his soul. However, even he realizes that everything that he has done is futile. All attempts continue to become frustrated, and he has become an object of persecusion.

Therefore, frustration, futility, and the chaotic feeling of fear and paranoia color the chapter with climactic tones.

 

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