Who are the pearl buyers in The Pearl?  

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The pearl buyers are middlemen for the big traders who make a lot of money out of the buying and selling of pearls. They are essentially parasites in that they don't risk their own necks diving into the sea and finding pearls themselves, but instead make their money off of the backs of brave pearl fishers like Kino.

The buyers, like their big trader bosses, operate on the assumption that indigenous folk are ignorant and naive and can easily be ripped off. They have no intention whatsoever of giving Kino or any other pearl fisherman a fair price for their valuable finds. This is not only a question of greed as racism also comes into play here. The merchants and traders involved in this shabby enterprise simply cannot accept that indigenous people are entitled to the kind of financial security that the discovery of a valuable pearl could give them. For them, if people like Kino were fairly rewarded for all of their hard work and effort, that would give the indigenous people ideas of rising up in the world and potentially challenging the domination and control of the likes of the doctor and his henchmen.

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The pearl buyers are dishonest merchants, intent on cheating those people who bring them pearls to sell. They are not independent buyers but in collaboration with a main merchant, who pays them a salary, rather than a profit from each sale. Before Kino brings the pearl to them for a price, they had already heard a rumor of his find. They agree among themselves, in collusion with their employer, what price they will offer for this magnificent pearl. They also agree that they will say that the pearl, as large as it is, is only good for a curiosity. They begin to find other flaws with the pearl. In the end, the price they offer is made to seem as if they were doing a favor by offering Kino the low price. Kino sees through the artifice, however, and decides to wait and go to the city to see what they will offer him. He thinks, though, that the pearl buyers may be right, and he may be out of a chance to sell the pearl.

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