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The Pearl (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century) Perfect Paperback – 1993

3.5 out of 5 stars 400 customer reviews

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Perfect Paperback, 1993
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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback
  • Publisher: Perfection Learning (1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812416430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812416435
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 11.4 x 1.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 400 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,755,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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First Sentence
Kino awakened in the near dark. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Format: Paperback
The Pearl, by John Steinbeck, is truly a timeless, well-crafted masterpiece. Steinbeck, the winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize for literature, uses vivid descriptions to portray an ordinary Mexican man, Kino, who is one of the poor and oppressed people of his village. From a distance, Kino has an ideal life; he has everything a man could want: a roof over his head, food to eat, a loving wide and a healthy child. Everything changes one day, when he discovers a large, perfect and beautiful pearl. Word of the discovery quickly spreads throughout the village, and ideas for the future quickly fill Kino's head. This pearl could be the thing that could bring Kino out of poverty and create a better life for his family. The future seems perfect for Kino. Unfortunately, he is quite wrong...
Originally a Mexican folk tale, The Pearl, is simply more than a straightforward story of a man who finds a pearl. The Pearl is a powerful parable of inner struggle, greed, jealously, oppression, bravery and so much more. Steinbeck carefully weaves into his folk tale his own creative and personal style using vivid descriptions and strong metaphors. This book is a novel we should all live by. I highly recommend this book to readers of all ages.
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Format: Paperback
John Steinbeck's short novel "The Pearl" (1947) is unusual in that the book appeared after Steinbeck wrote a screenplay for a film of the same name. The film was released to coincide with the publication of the book. The novel is short, deceptively simple, and deservedly famous. It is based upon a Mexican folk tale and tells the story of a poor family who become, potentially, wealthy by the discovery of a pearl of rare size and beauty. This sudden wealth does not result in happiness.
Steinbeck sets the stage with a short, two-paragraph preface introducing the main characters: "Kino, the fisherman, .. his wife, Juana, and ... the baby, Coyotito." Steinbeck describes the story as "a parable" in which, "perhaps everyone takes his own meaning from it and reads his own life into it."
Kino, Juana and Coyotito are poor and and live in a simple thatched house. The baby is bitten by a scorpion and Kino and Juana become concerned for his life but have no money to pay a doctor. Kino miraculously finds a pearl of great worth and the couple dream of a better life. But from the outset, the pearl provokes jealousy and violence and leads to great unhappiness for the little family.
I was moved by the figures of song and music that appear throughout the story. We are told at the beginning that Kino's people "had been great makers of songs so that everything they saw or thought or did or heard became a song." Kino hears in his heart various songs throughout his book, the most important of which is the "Song of the Family" or the "Whole" which celebrates his life with his wife and baby.
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Format: Paperback
Kino is a pearl diver in La Paz, Mexico, eking out a meager subsistence living for his wife, Juana, and their infant son, Coyotito. When Coyotito is stung by a scorpion, Kino is both embarrassed and angered by the fact that the arrogant, self-centered town doctor is unwilling to help because they are unable to pay. Diving long and deep, perhaps to cool off his anger or perhaps to find an extra pearl or two so that he might have the money for his son's care, he emerges from the Gulf of Mexico with the largest, most exquisite pearl that his community has ever seen. It is quickly labeled as "The Pearl of the World".

Thinking it to be the future source of his family's future health, comfort, happiness and peace, Kino seeks to sell it to the local pearl buyers who attempt to swindle him, offering only a fraction of its real value. When the pearl becomes the target of sneak thieves in the middle of the night, Kino kills the thief defending himself, his family and the pearl that is now the central focus of their lives.

Kino and Juana realize that the doctor, the priest and those already possessed of wealth in the town are angry that he should presume to step out of his station. While their friends, the other pearl fishermen, are happy for Kino's good fortune they are also jealous and convinced that Kino's sudden wealth will change him into a new person - a person that, in some fashion, will choose to distance himself from the people he formerly loved and valued.

Steinbeck's story writing skills are eloquent, compelling, and impossibly tight and concise but, at the same time, astonishingly profound and moving.
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Format: Paperback
I rated this novella three stars because I felt that the story was a little bit rushed and the author left some important details out. Some things that John Stienback left out was things such as description of the characters. He didn't really describe the characters, but he did it in a way that you really had to understand the novella really well. One thing that I noticed from John Stienback's style is that he presented this novella as more of a folk tale and fable then a typical novel with suspense or romance. Another important reason that I didn't like about the novella was that it was kind of racist because everyone who was white in that area lived in the town and had money, but the native Mexicans had no chance of that. I thought that was bad because if even the natives were smart or talented in any way, the white people would just give them low payment jobs such as being servants and such.
There are many things that I liked about his writing. One was his style in describing characters. In the begginning of the novella he would describe the main characters as animals. But when the plot of the novella gets thicker, John Stienback would describe the chracters like Kino to man made objects. That was what I liked about his style of writing and these are the reasons I rated his novella a three.
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