In The Pearl, what is Juana's reaction when she sees the scorpion climbing down the rope towards Coyotito's box?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Juana reacts with a whispered mix of Catholic prayer and ancient magic when she sees the scorpion.

Kino and Juana see the scorpion crawling down toward their baby, Coyotito. They both react by saying whispered prayers as Kino moves to intercept the scorpion. Juana keeps softly speaking ancient magic prayers against evil. Unfortunately, Coyotito shakes the rope the scorpion is on and it falls onto him, stinging him, before Kino can throw it to the floor.

Juana moves to pick up Coyotito. She sucks on the scorpion sting and tries to reduce the effects on her baby. She sucks, spits, sucks, and spits. She asks Kino to bring the doctor but everyone tells her that the doctor won't come to them. She insists on taking Coyotito to the doctor.

Once they arrive, they're turned away.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

As the parents watch the ominous scorpion, Kino hears the "Song of Evil" and Juana repeats "an ancient magic to guard against such evil" and finishes with a Hail Mary between "clenched teeth."

The fear of Juana is an ancient fear: the scorpion contains poison that can kill; moreover, the Indians are not often afforded medical care because of their inability to pay for this attention. Therefore, when the scorpion stings her baby, Juana immediately reacts by trying to suck out the poison and spitting it out because she knows that to get the doctor

...would be a remarkable thing.  The doctor never came to the cluster of brush houses.

This pivotal moment generates the other conflicts that move the plot of Steinbeck's parable

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial