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The Pearl (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century) [Hardcover]

John Steinbeck
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (394 customer reviews)

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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steinbeck's Pearl May 10 2004
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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3.0 out of 5 stars Review of "The Pearl" Oct. 27 2005
By Pop D.
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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3.0 out of 5 stars The Pearl by John Steinbeck Oct. 22 2005
The story is set in a brush hut in a town in Mexico with a pearl fisherman named Kino. Kino wakes up to find a scorpion next to his son's cot and he desperately tries to remove the scorpion so he grabs for it and misses and the scorpion stings his son. Kino yells for the villagers to get the doctor but no luck comes to him so Kino goes to the doctor and offers payment of a small pearl but the doctors refuses. In desperation for money, Kino goes out to the pearl ridges to find a pearl to pay for his son's treatment and while he is there he finds the biggest white pearl ever found. Kino believes that the pearl is a bringer of good fortune and riches. Unfortunately, it brings evil and death because the greed of the pearl buyers forces them to try and kill Kino and take the pearl. Kino though, kills his attackers and in an attempt to rid the evil of the pearl he throws it back to where it came from. The good points about this book are that it is well written because it is not overly detailed and it maintains your interest and the characters are believable. The bad point for me though is the ending as it is not a happy one because Kino ends up the way he was before he finds the pearl.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A fable for now
Fables allow us to tell simple stories that resonate in complex situations. The Pearl tells the tale of a poor pearl diver who finds a pearl of incredible value. Read more
Published 3 months ago by SnowPharoah
4.0 out of 5 stars A short, simple story well told
Steinbeck proves that morality tales don't have to be preachy and annoying in this fine, short work. The discovery of a highly valuable pearl unleashes a sequence if ugly events. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Rodge
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect!
Thank you for the fast shipping and the great condition. The book is great, very useful with my students! They've learned a lot!
Published on Feb. 16 2012 by JP Morency
5.0 out of 5 stars Moral fable or political diatribe? You decide!
Kino is a pearl diver in La Paz, Mexico, eking out a meager subsistence living for his wife, Juana, and their infant son, Coyotito. Read more
Published on Aug. 7 2009 by Paul Weiss
5.0 out of 5 stars A Simple Story Simply Told
The Pearl is essentially a morality tale about how the pursuit of wealth can lead to unhappiness. Perhaps that is unfair; putting it that way conjures up images of preachiness and... Read more
Published on April 12 2009 by Oliver
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too
Kino and his wife, Juana, have a beautiful baby boy, but one morning he gets stung by a scorpion. He is rushed to the doctor, who will not treat him because they have no form of... Read more
Published on Sept. 7 2007 by TeensReadToo
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my recent reads
I recently read three excellent books and felt I must share them with other Amazon readers. First came Sedaris's "Me Talk Pretty One Day," which was possibly the funniest book I've... Read more
Published on Sept. 25 2006 by Seabold
4.0 out of 5 stars No Happy Ending
A tragic ending for an almost to good-to-be true story
It happens, you have 5 of the 6 numbers needed too win the lottery. Read more
Published on Nov. 10 2004 by MiCh_L
4.0 out of 5 stars No Happy Ending - A tragic ending for an almost to good-to-b
It happens, you have 5 of the 6 numbers needed too win the lottery. At this point, you think to yourself: what is it that you most desire? Read more
Published on Nov. 10 2004 by MiCh_L
4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun and as usual, great Steinbeck
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. No, it's no GRAPES OF WRATH or EAST OF EDEN, but it is better than most other books I've come across. My summer reading list? Read more
Published on Aug. 5 2004
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