How does Steinbeck use imagery to create the tone in The Pearl and could it have ended differently?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I like the ending, but I admit I would have liked to see more.  Kino took revenge in the only way he could, but there are many other ways he might have done it.  I also agree with the above post, and I admit I never really thought about what would happen to Kino after he threw away the pearl.  Most people would still think he had it and never believe he threw it out.

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mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The ending also illustrates how there is no magical and quick way to move from one's socio-economic situation.  For instance, had Kino not been an uneducated and ingenuous man, he would better have understood that he could not get what the pearl was truly worth; instead, he would have to bargain.  If he had some worldliness about him, Kino would have been able to bargain with the dealers and receivenough money to take him and his family from the conditions in which they live.  It is Kino's ignorance of the world initially which really damages his chances of selling the pearl.  Of course, the dealers assume that he is ignorant, and when he does not take their first price, they do worry that they have underestimated him.  It is at this point that Kino could have succeeded if he had possessed some modicum of business acumen or sales experience.  Instead, he leaves.  Fearing that he will take the pearl out of their jurisdiction,  the men then plot to steal the pearl, and Kino and his family's fate is sealed.

The pearl, then, becomes an evil talisman as it is responsible for his baby's death.  In addition, Kino will continue to be a hunted animal.  And, if Kino could sell it, the money would be "blood money" for Coyitito.  So, in the minds of Kino and Juana, the pearl is evil and their lives will be haunted by it if they do not rid themselves of it.

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accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think the ending fits in very well with the kind of bleak world which Steinbeck creates. In the dog-eat-dog world he introduces us to, where the sudden wealth of one person results in the attempts of others to get that wealth, such a finding is more of a curse than a blessing, which obviously is the overwhelming message of the book. Wealth is not always a good thing.

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The narrator's tone is a distant calm and nostalgic one but with a foreboding overtone, and the imagery Steinbeck chooses is integral to creating the tone. So as not to confuse tone with mood, let's clarify that both tone (narrator's feelings about the subject) and mood (reader's response of feeling to the story) both employ vocabulary, also called diction. These diction choices include the vocabulary of imagery. The distinction is that while tone employs only vocabulary (diction), mood employs vocabulary (diction), setting and description. This means that tone and mood may both draw on imagery and in some cases may correspond, whereas in other cases they may differ so that the narrator may have a different feeling about the subject than the reader feels in responding to the story.

To start out, the feeling of distance in the tone is established in the epigraph in which the imagery of metaphoric rootedness is applied to mind and heart and in which the dichotomy of good-bad, black-white is established. Remembering that tone is...

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mandersn eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Mike Rosenbaum eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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thereader352 | Student

he was really poor and needed the the money regardless if it caused him problems.

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mkcapen1 | Student

The tone of the narrator in the book "The Pearl" is hurried and concerning.  It creates a feeling that the sale of the pearl must be made quickly but at the same time it also divulges the evil of greed.

In the beginning the reader is given a false sense of joy and harmony which is short lived.  A scorpion stings the baby and the two Indian parents are denied any treatment to help their infant.  The father wants badly to find a way to afford treatment for his sun.

The pearl that he finds is greater than any around and should bring fortune, but there is a sense of evil attached to it.  The pearl brings bad luck to the family by seducing others evil hearts into having to have it for its value.  In the end the family has been destroyed by the pearl.

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