The Pearl Questions and Answers
by John Steinbeck

The Pearl book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What are two examples of foreshadowing in The Pearl by John Steinbeck?  

Expert Answers info

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write11,856 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

An additional example of foreshadowing comes at the end of chapter 3 when Juana tells Kino that the pearl will ruin their son. Up until this moment there's been no sense that the pearl will be anything other than a huge stroke of luck for Kino and his family. Once they've sold this valuable, a much-sought-after object, they'll be able to swap their impoverished existence for a life of ease and comfort.

Tragically, that's not how things turn out. Juana is right to be suspicious of the pearl; she senses that it'll be much more trouble than it's worth. And this proves to be true. The doctor and his thugs try everything they can to steal the pearl instead if giving Kino a fair price for it. They hunt down Kino and his family like animals, and in the process Coyotito, Kino and Juana's son, is shot dead. Sadly, Juana was right after all.

It's also notable that Kino hears a song whenever something bad is about to happen. The song of the pearl gets stronger and stronger the nearer he gets to it. Of course, Kino doesn't yet know that the discovery of the pearl will bring him evil, but the song provides us with a further instance of foreshadowing—not to mention dramatic irony.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

mwestwood, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

bookM.A. from The University of Alabama


calendarEducator since 2006

write16,150 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Foreshadowing, or hinting at what is to come in a narrative, often generates some tension that may subtly alert readers to the beginning of an important development of the plot. One example of foreshadowing comes in Part VI with Coyotito's name itself, which means "little coyote."

Much of the action, conflicts, and complications develop from the baby's scorpion bite. Kino dives for the great pearl so that he can pay for a doctor's care for his little son; when he succeeds, he takes the great pearl he has found to the city. But, there are evil men who want to steal this great pearl, and they track him when Kino and his family flee. Kino's plan to ambush these men trailing him and his family is foiled just as Kino is almost upon them. When Coyotito whimpers, the men believe that they have heard a coyote pup, and one of the trackers shoots in the direction of the sound. Sadly, he kills the baby.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write15,967 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

The first line of the story tells you that it is a story of how the pearl was found and lost again, so you know right away that Kino does not keep the pearl, but you do not know how.  We are also told that the story is a parable, which tells us that someone learns a lesson.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial