The Pearl Chapter 3 Summary
by John Steinbeck

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Chapter 3 Summary

Even before Kino and Juana reach the shore, the tidings of their discovery have spread throughout the village and surrounding town. The news is broadcast to everyone, including the priest, the beggars, and the doctor who refused to treat Coyotito’s injury. They all imagine the benefits that the pearl will bring to them. The priest imagines that he might be able to make repairs to the church. The beggars speculate that they could receive special contributions from a man who, until very recently, lived in poverty. Even the doctor boasts that the infant is his patient.

Perhaps the most eager sharers in Kino’s news are town’s pearl buyers. They anticipated Kino’s desire to sell the pearl and await the opportunity to defraud him of its value. These buyers have traditionally conspired to cheat poor pearl divers by offering the lowest possible estimates for the pearls they bring in for appraisal. The mere thought of Kino’s pearl was enough to engender serious deliberation among the pearl buyers, who were in fact only agents. Although they professed to be competitors, they were all employees of a single man who was the only actual pearl buyer in the region.

Kino’s great pearl engenders a dream of material prosperity in nearly all of the townspeople. In fact, they begin to imagine that all of their worldly prospects depend entirely on Kino’s generosity. Consequently, they bless or curse him, depending on whether they believe Kino will respond to their requests charitably or negligently.

Unaware of these speculations, Kino and Juana return to their small brush home, surrounded by friends and neighbors. Juana sits patiently as Kino expresses their family’s aspirations, including a church wedding, fine clothes, a rifle, and a formal education for little Coyotito. As the neighbors marvel at Kino’s plans, the priest pays an unexpected visit to the family. After offering flattering remarks to Kino regarding the origin of his name, he encourages them to give generously to the church as a means of showing gratitude for the pearl. Kino does not offer a ready reply to this request, but Juana does. She reassures him that they will be formally married and that they will not forget to give generously to the church.

The priest departs along with the horde of neighbors. Then the doctor arrives. Kino is immediately filled with fear and loathing for the man. However, the doctor suggests that scorpion stings can deceptively appear to heal while the poison still courses through the body. Kino is skeptical, but he does not want to risk his son’s health so he permits the doctor to...

(The entire section is 683 words.)