What is a "hazy mirage" (John Steinbeck's The Pearl)?

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The morning haze is a blurring effect caused by differences in air temperature, notably the heat from the sun and the air near the water. The symbolic significance of the "hazy mirage" has to do with the spiritual beliefs of Kino and his people. In this section in chapter 2,...

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The morning haze is a blurring effect caused by differences in air temperature, notably the heat from the sun and the air near the water. The symbolic significance of the "hazy mirage" has to do with the spiritual beliefs of Kino and his people. In this section in chapter 2, Steinbeck adds:

There was no certainty in seeing, no proof that what you saw was there or was not there. And the people of the Gulf expected all places were that way, and it was not strange to them.

Compare the villagers' music-filled, abstract, spiritual view of the world to that of the materialistic world of the town. The villagers see the world as possibilities. This is quite different from the world of commodities and commerce: i.e., products and money. The pearl has symbolic meanings to Kino and Juana but its association with evil has to do with its place in the material world. As a symbol of hope, its meaning is pure and joyful. However, once linked with the world of money and things, it becomes dangerous.

In short, Steinbeck stresses this difference between the town and the village, between the cold economic world and the spiritual world of the villagers. Kino's vision of the world (prior to the corruption of the pearl) is vague (hazy), spiritual, and open to possibilities. The doctor's view of the world is about money and things, cold and concrete.

The haziness of the atmosphere could also be interpreted as an uncertainty about things to come. And this may apply to the pearl as well. Capable of bringing prosperity or danger, the pearl itself is a dubious gift.

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Early into chapter two of John Steinbeck's The Pearl, the morning is described as being "young" and possessing a "hazy mirage."  In order to understand what this image looks like, one can dissect it. A haze is the same thing as a mist or fog. This tends to happen when the temperature of the ground (or water, as with a lake or ocean) is drastically different from the temperature of the air above it). This makes the scene look blurry. A mirage is an optical illusion created by light refracting off of something. For example, when looking at a stretch of pavement, it sometimes looks like water is covering the ground. This is considered a mirage. 

Therefore, a "hazy mirage" is where the mist over the water (as defined in the story) showed things which were not there. The text states that although the "people of the Gulf believed in spirits and imaginations, they did not trust things they saw when the images were distorted by the mists rising off the water. 

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