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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Parable, Amazing Plot, Powerful Message...
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...
Published on Oct. 28 2005 by lovepoke

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3.0 out of 5 stars Review of "The Pearl"
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...
Published on Oct. 27 2005 by Pop D.


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Parable, Amazing Plot, Powerful Message..., Oct. 28 2005
This review is from: The Pearl (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steinbeck's Pearl, May 10 2004
By 
Robin Friedman (Washington, D.C. United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Pearl (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. Other songs that figure prominently include the "Song of Evil", the "Song of the Sea" and the "Song of the Pearl". It is interesting to follow the song imagery as the story progresses.
The other part of this story that most struck me were the scenes of nature -- of the water and mountains. There is a theme of wandering that comes through poignantly in the last part of the book in which the family struggles through mountains and valleys in an attempt to evade stalkers who are pursing them for the pearl. This last portion of the book includes much moving writing.
Many people read this book as part of an intoduction to American literature in high school or college. The book is accessible and short and is a highly appropriate way to get to know a major 20th Century American novelist. Still, I remember how easy it is to dislike a book forced upon a reader when young. In my own case, I did not read this book in school (I read other Steinbeck) and only came upon it recently too many years later. In any event, it is a short and beautiful story that glows with the many colors and ambiguities as did the pearl which Kino discovered and which inspired the book. This is a lovely work of American literature which the reader will enjoy getting to know.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Moral fable or political diatribe? You decide!, Aug. 7 2009
By 
Paul Weiss (Dundas, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Pearl (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. Steinbeck's writing is the very antithesis of the style of Charles Dickens, for example, another consummate storyteller, but one who never failed to write astonishingly complex sentences and paragraphs using an enormous number of words where one would do.

For example, when Kino said, "I am a man", insisting that he must defend his family and his goods, Steinbeck perfectly described a woman's understanding of what a man meant when he said that:

"It meant that he was half insane and half God. It meant that Kino would drive his strength against a mountain and plunge his strength against the sea. Juana, in her woman's soul, knew that the mountain would stand while the man broke himself; that the sea would surge while the man drowned in it."

On the flip side, any female reader today would appreciate Steinbeck's brief but powerful statement of his admiration of their good sense:

"Sometimes the quality of woman, the reason, the caution, the sense of preservation could cut through Kino's manness and save them all."

Read on the surface, "The Pearl" is a beautifully told, sadly moving parable that expounds on the often repeated childhood mantra, "Money can't buy happiness". A slightly more sophisticated reader will also take away the message that wealth is equivalent to power which, as we all come to know, can be its own evil leading to corruption and deceit. A deeper analytical reading, perhaps from a world-weary, more cynical adult, may give rise to the conclusion that, writing in the early 1960s, Steinbeck was also indulging in a political criticism of the wealthy class and the authorities. Perhaps he was even expounding on the virtues of socialism, a political posture that was, to say the least, unpopular in the USA at that time.

However you choose to read it, "The Pearl" is a short novella, easily read in a mere two to three hours, that deserves to be in a library of classic American literature.

Paul Weiss
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3.0 out of 5 stars Review of "The Pearl", Oct. 27 2005
This review is from: The Pearl (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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3.0 out of 5 stars The Pearl by John Steinbeck, Oct. 22 2005
By 
Mrs. S. A. Eckersley "Jamie Eckersley" (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Pearl (Paperback)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars No Happy Ending, Nov. 10 2004
By 
MiCh_L (Representing the T - DOT) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Pearl (Paperback)
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. At this point, you think to yourself: what is it that you most desire? A brand new car; a huge house; or just to spend every waking moment of your life with your family. John Steinback's novel, The Pearl is a perfect example of life's ups and downs. It is truly a masterpiece of hatred, misery, deceit and love. It demonstrates why wealth does not always deliver good fortune. Every- one has to work long and hard to succeed in areas they wish too.
The sadness of the main character, Kino, can truly be felt as he struggles to succeed in his brand new life. Kino is a poor Mexican peasant living in Baja, California during the 1920's. He and his wife, Juana, live in a small community off the cost. Their life changes dramatically when a poisonous scorpion bites their son, Coyotito. Kino now must determine a way to pay for the treatment of a doctor. The family finds a way to pay for the treatment, and a way to make their lives better. There are many obstacles lying ahead, but depending on the root they take, could affect the final outcome.
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4.0 out of 5 stars No Happy Ending - A tragic ending for an almost to good-to-b, Nov. 10 2004
By 
MiCh_L (Representing the T - DOT) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Pearl (Paperback)
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? A brand new car; a huge house; or just to spend every waking moment of your life with your family. John Steinback's novel, The Pearl is a perfect example of life's ups and downs. It is truly a masterpiece of hatred, misery, deceit and love. It demonstrates why wealth does not always deliver good fortune. Every- one has to work long and hard to succeed in areas they wish too.
The sadness of the main character, Kino, can truly be felt as he struggles to succeed in his brand new life. Kino is a poor Mexican peasant living in Baja, California during the 1920's. He and his wife, Juana, live in a small community off the cost. Their life changes dramatically when a poisonous scorpion bites their son, Coyotito. Kino now must determine a way to pay for the treatment of a doctor. The family finds a way to pay for the treatment, and a way to make their lives better. There are many obstacles lying ahead, but depending on the root they take, could affect the final outcome.
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2.0 out of 5 stars The Pearl, May 13 2004
This review is from: The Pearl (Paperback)
This year my 5th grade teacher made us read The Pearl. However, when I told another teacher in the school what we were reading she seemed surprised. What she went on to say echoed my feelings completely.
The Pearl is an amazing piece of literature but the plot is rather dull. If you are looking for exciting action this book is not for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for a magnificent writing this book is perfect.
Kino, his wife Juana and their baby son Coyotito live in Mexico. To survive, Kino works as a pearl diver along with several others from his village. Every day, he paddles out in his canoe and dives for pearls. Things were the same day after day until, one day, when Kino discovered The Pearl of the World.
The Pearl was perfect, as large as an eagle egg and perfectly round. No one, especially Kino, suspected how much evil the pearl would bring.
Problem after problem befalls Kino until he and Juana are forced to flee. They head for the capital and are followed by trackers. The ending is truly spectacular and somewhat unexpected.
I recommend this book for people who are looking for amazing writing, but if you're seeking the plot this book is not the best. Feel free to read The Pearl though for me I've read better books by John Steinbeck
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Pearl of the World, May 12 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Pearl (Paperback)
I think that this is a great book, but not one of Steinbeck's absolute best ones. It is a short story. It is only six chapters long. The plot is exciting but you can probably guess what will happen at the end.
Steinbeck says that it is a Mexican folk tale. The story takes place in La Paz, Mexico in the early 1900s. The main character is Kino, a poor pearl diver. All of his family before him had been pearl divers, too. He tries to make a living for his wife Juana, and their baby Coyotito by selling the pearls he finds.
Early in the book, Coyotito gets bitten by a scorpion. To keep the poison from spreading, Kino and Juana go to the doctor. He will not treat their baby. He calls Kino a 'Indian boy'. Kino returns home, rejected.
Later that day, Kino goes out to sea to dive for pearls. After he returns to the surface, he has a huge clam. He sees something sparkling inside. He opens the clam and inside is a pearl 'as perfect as the moon and as round as a seagull's egg'.
The pearl brings much luck. Both bad luck and good luck. The pearl brings fortune and misfortune. Many things happen to Kino, Juana and Coyotito when they have 'the pearl of the world'. I recommend this book to young readers, like myself. I thank my teacher Adam for making the class read this book and for making me write this review.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Pearl, May 12 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Pearl (Paperback)
(...)
The Pearl is an amazing piece of literature but the plot is rather dull. If you are looking for exciting action this book is not for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for a magnificent writing this book is perfect.
Kino, his wife Juana and their baby son Coyotito live in Mexico. To survive, Kino works as a pearl diver along with several others from his village. Every day, he paddles out in his canoe and dives for pearls. Things were the same day after day until, one day, when Kino discovered The Pearl of the World.
The Pearl was perfect, as large as an eagle egg and perfectly round. No one, especially Kino, suspected how much evil the pearl would bring.
Problem after problem befalls Kino until he and Juana are forced to flee. They head for the capital and are followed by trackers. The ending is truly spectacular and somewhat unexpected.
I recommend this book for people who are looking for amazing writing, but if you're seeking the plot this book is not the best. Feel free to read The Pearl though for me I've read better books by John Steinbeck
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The Pearl
The Pearl by John Steinbeck (Paperback - Sept. 14 1993)
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