The Pearl Chapter 5 Summary
by John Steinbeck

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Chapter 5 Summary

Juana and Kino disagree strongly about how to dispose of the pearl, and they begin the day with a horrifying interaction. Kino awakens to see Juana discreetly arise and move toward the fireplace. He silently watches as she removes the pearl from the hiding place and leaves the house. He follows her. At first, she doesn’t know that she is being observed. When she realizes she is being followed, she runs toward the ocean. Kino chases her. Just as she is about to throw the pearl into the ocean, Kino strikes her in the face. He forcibly takes the pearl from her and kicks her. He is furious but Juana is unafraid. Her determined expression calms him and he feels ashamed of himself for having abused her.

In shame, Kino turns and walks back toward his home. As he enters the brush, he is attacked a third time. This time he draws his knife and stabs the assailant immediately. Although the assailant is injured, he grabs Kino and desperately gropes his clothes in search of the pearl. As the two men battle, the pearl is thrown to the ground and lands near a rock.

Meanwhile, Juana gets up and prepares to submit to Kino. Although she still disagrees with him, she loves him. She believes that he, like all men, is stubborn and willful. She also believes that his quest to become rich from the sale of the pearl will ultimately destroy him. However, she feels that it is her responsibility to tolerate his stubborn will and to remain at his side. She knows that she needs him for protection and for their family’s provisions. More than anything else, though, she loves him. As she walks toward her house, she sees the pearl on the ground beside the rock. Then she notices two bodies on the ground and sees that one of them is bleeding from the neck.

Juana is relieved to discover that the bloodied body belongs to the attacker, who is dead. Nevertheless, she is frightened for Kino because she knows that he killed the man. In fact, his knife is still beside the body. She knows that their family will never be the same. She drags the dead body into the brush and uses the cloth on her wet skirt to revive her husband.

When Kino regains consciousness, he explains that the man attacked him as he entered the brush. He explains that he killed the man in self-defense. Juana believes him. However, knowing the degree to which the pearl has engendered greed and envy in the town, she urges him to flee. She tells him that no one will believe his story and that he will be prosecuted for murder. Kino agrees with her and instructs her to go home and get their child....

(The entire section is 710 words.)