Student Question

What do Kino's reactions to Juana's pleas in chapter 3 of The Pearl suggest about his personality?

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Once news of his capture of the Pearl of the World spreads, Kino becomes every man's enemy. "The news stirred up something infinitely black and evil in the town" and the people have now become envious. People come to his doorway to sell things, to ask favors. Kino's brother Thomas asks him what he will do now that he is a rich man. Kino envisions Juana and he being married; he sees his son Coyitito in a little sailor suit. "My son will go to school ... He will read," vows Kino.

But fear grows in Kino who has seen the eyes of envy. So he has begun to make a "hard skin for himself against the world." After the priest and doctor visit, a thief comes in the night; Kino cuts this intruder with his knife. Terrified by this intrusion in the dark, Juana pleads with Kino to throw back the pearl into the sea, but Kino is hardened to her pleas.  For, he insists, "This is our one chance," their one oppotunity to have enough money for Kino to attend school and become an educated person:

"Our son must go to school. He must break out of the pot that holds us in."

Nevertheless, Juana is frightened and insists that the Pearl "will destroy us all....Even our son." Kino silences her, saying that they will sell the pearl in the morning and all the evil will be gone and just the good will remain. After Juana is quiet, Kino digs up his pearl and gazes at it; from this great pearl, Music then emanates, and along with this comes a promise of comfort and security and a "poultrice against illness and a wall against insult." He smiles at this promise, and he "begins his day with hope."

Clearly, there is a growing conflict between Juana and Kino. While Kino views the great pearl as their one "hope," Juana perceives it as threatening their security as an evil. 

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