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The Pearl
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Product Description

When the news of Kino's great find--the "Pearl of the World"--spreads through the small town, no one suspects its power to deceive, to corrupt, to destroy. Like his father and grandfather before him, Kino is a poor diver, gathering pearls from the gulf beds that once brought great wealth to the Kings of Spain and now provide Kino, Juana, and their infant son with meager subsistence. Then, on a day like any other, Kino emerges from the sea with a pearl as large as a sea gull's egg, as "perfect as the moon." With the pearl comes hope, the promise of comfort and of security...

A story of classic simplicity, based on a Mexican folk tale, The Pearl explores the secrets of man's nature, the darkest depths of evil, and the luminous possibilities of love.

Customer Reviews:

  • the pearl
    The Pearl is about a poor pearl diver who is trying to sell one of the biggest pearls ever seen in his hometown in Mexico. I thought that this book was very good. It describes how greed can corrupt anyone and the evils that men are capable of. I would recommend this book to anyone because it is a great story that is full of suspense and action. It is an easy and fast read but is still a thought provoking book.
    The Pearl takes place in La Paz, Mexico and begins by describing the life of Kino, his wife Juana and son, Coyotito. At the beginning of the book, Kino watches as a scorpion crawls down the rope that holds the hanging box where Coyotito lies. Kino attempts to catch the scorpion, but Coyotito bumps the rope and the scorpion falls on him. Although Kino kills the scorpion, it still stings Coyotito. Juana and Kino go to see the local doctor, who refuses to treat Coyotito because Kino cannot pay. Kino and Juana leave the doctors and take Coyotito down to the sea, where Juana uses seaweed to help Coyotito's shoulder. Kino dives for oysters the next day and finds a very large oyster that contains a huge pearl. The pearl is "as large as a seagull's egg" and "as perfect as the moon". The news that Kino has found great pearl travels fast through La Paz. Kino's brother asks him what he will do with his money. Kino wishes to get married to Juana in a church and dress Coyotito in a sailor suit. He wants to send Coyotito to school and buy a rifle for himself. The doctor comes to check on Coyotito now that Kino has money and says that Coyotito needs to be treated for the scorpion bite. That night, someone attempts to steal the pearl but Kino protects it and fights the robbers off. Juana tells Kino that the pearl is evil, but Kino insists that the pearl is their one chance to succeed and that they will sell it tomorrow. Kino goes to sell his pearl the next day, but the pearl dealer only offers a thousand pesos when Kino believes that he deserves fifty thousand. Kino claims that he is being cheated so the pearl dealer calls the other dealers in to inspect the pearl. One dealer after another gave similar prices, but Kino refuses all of them and decides to go to the capital to sell it there. After the pearl is almost stolen again, Juana tells Kino that the pearl is evil one last time but he does not listen and says that they will leave for the capital tomorrow.
    The Pearl explores man's nature, how greed can motivate people to be evil, and how far one man will go to better the life of his family. Even though the pearl was beautiful, everything that it brought was not good for the family. In the story, Steinbeck shows how wealth does not necessarily bring you happiness and solve your problems. Reading this book helps us stop and appreciate the life we have instead of always wanting more. It shows through symbolism that the old saying "money does not buy happiness" is true. This review is posted on
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  • A classic Steinbeck book.
    The Pearl is a classic Steinbeck literature. The writing is beautiful and is very descriptive. And the best of all about the book is the simplicity of the story told, rather a sad one. That's typical of John Steinbeck's books. I like the characters and how well constructed they are. The poor Mexican town gives me a feeling that it looks like a great place to live, at least from the American point of view. During the reading of The Pearl, I looked up the internet about pearl hunting, and it is quite fascinating. Although mostly outdated, the practice still exists today, even in the rivers of Ohio and Tennessee. The Pearl is a simple novel, short and sweet with only 90 pages. And the Steinbeck feel of the book goes a long way too. I want to make a mention of two situations in the book. When the doctor came to treat the baby, I really think that he caused the baby to get sick on purpose just to profit for the hell of it. The ending doesn't make sense, at least on practical level, because the pearl means money which brings security and comfortable living. Anyway, I know John Steinbeck wanted to make his book to have layers of figurative meaning, and he wholly succeeds in this department....more info
  • A Timeless Tale
    A folktale of lower California is the basis for this narrative about Kino, a simple pearl fisherman, who finds an enormous pearl that promises to provide for all his family's needs. But Kino soon learns that this find brings nothing but misfortune. This misfortune prompts Kino to throw the large pearl back into the sea and resume his difficult way of life. As many learn, those who are greedy are never happy....more info
  • Be Careful What You Wish For...You May Get It...
    Still a that should be read annually to keep us grounded in reality...

    What a blessed world we live in and sometimes don't even know it, all the time worrying about what we don't have rather than being grateful for what we do have...even in poverty, that can be true...and be careful what we wish for...we may get it and it may ruin our lives....sometimes through no fault of our own...Rarely are so many life-lessons contained in just 90 pages...there is goodness and humanity, there is evil and greed, there is happiness and despair, there is hope and the dashing of hope. The long awaited Pearl brings great happiness, but with it, a whole new set of problems. Still a classic.....more info
  • Couple hours of reading
    From a variety of different influences comes Steinbeck's 'The Pearl'. There is a Hispanic parable that this is largely based on and basically covers how sudden wealth does not necessarily change your life for the better but rather can bring a host of jealousy, distrust, and unhappiness with it, often to tragic ends.

    If you have to read this book for school, you aren't going to like it because you're forced to read it. You'll claim it's boring, you'll claim it's 'the worst book ever written', and you will resent the book and your teacher for assigning it. Sorry for your one-dimensional mind set on a chance to improve yourself. If you are reading this book for pleasure or because you feel the need to read the Steinbeck library, then you should be fairly pleased with the turns of events. It's a basic story with a tragic ending (like most Steinbeck works). It's 90 pages long, you'll read it in 1-3 hours and it is worth reading. It's a good piece of literature albeit very short....more info
  • In praise of Melancholy....
    I was warned about the horribly tragic theme of this novel, but I fell in love with "Of Mice and Men", so I decided to crack open the shell and grab The Pearl as well.

    Admittedly, the sadness and sense of hopelessness of human dreams, similar to that found in "Of Mice and Men" pervades this novel. If you want to read something fun and light, then this novel is not for you and John Steinbeck is not the author for you.

    The plot is simple, like other Steinbeck's novels, but the emotional journey the heart and mind takes with this novel has no equal. "The Pearl" is yet another Steinbeck masterpiece, worth exploring time and time again.

    ...more info
  • Lasting Impression
    In 1978-79 while in High School in Jamaica, was the first time I read this book. It is an amazing story but not a story. Facts on how our lives can be changed because of need. Facts on how we can lose sight of what is most valuable to us because of "luck". I am impressed with the the author's presentation of details throughout the book...I felt like I was watching the entire story unfold before my eyes. I think it was well written. For that reason I had to purchase a copy for my step-daughter and of course another for myself in 2007. Awesome book!!...more info
  • Book Review: The Pearl, by John Steinbeck
    Even though John Steinbeck's The Pearl is less than one hundred pages, it is still a great piece of American literature. The Pearl is an extremely interesting and compelling parable about a family living in an impoverished Mexican Village called La Paz. The exact time period of the story is not specified. However, judging by the generation in which Steinbeck lived and the era of many of his other works, The Pearl probably takes place in the early 1900s. Originally, the work was planned to hit the theaters before becoming a piece of literature. The film version would have worked out nicely because throughout the tale, Steinbeck describes separate songs and tunes that are associated for different items, events, and character feelings. The major theme Steinbeck implements into the novel is that becoming wealthy can warp one's mind, causing he or she to perform tasks that would be out of the ordinary.

    The novella's main character, Kino, is a Mexican and Indian father living with his wife, Juana and newborn son, Coyotito in a small Mexican village. The family is extremely poor and does not have any luxuries in life. One day, Coyotito is stung by a scorpion and is in need of medical attention. When Kino and Juana take their son to a doctor, he turns them away because he is aware that the family has no way to pay him. Immediately, Kino and Juana begin to search for valuable pearls in the sea, hoping to find something to earn enough money for the doctor's attention. Sure enough, Kino finds the largest pearl anyone has ever seen. It is declared "The Pearl of the World." Coyotito receives the doctor's help, but Kino and Juana are extremely suspicious of him. Later, Kino attempts to sell his pearl but he is offered much less than he expects and refuses the best offer. He plans to travel to the capital the next day to try and sell his pearl again. Juana warns Kino that the pearl is bad luck and she fails in attempting to throw the pearl back into the sea. When Kino is attacked by a group of people attempting to steal the pearl, he promptly kills them off. Realizing the grave danger he put his entire family in, Kino takes Juana, Coyotito, and the pearl and they escape to the mountains. In order to conceal the rest of the story, I will not tell any more plot information.

    Using a simple, straightforward storytelling method, Steinbeck effectively illustrates the events in his parable. He uses a tremendous amount of foreshadowing throughout the story. However, I will not give any examples as I promised not to reveal any more plot information. Steinbeck emphasizes the importance of certain events by having them recur at the beginning of the chapters. In the second, third, and fourth chapters, a description of the town is present. These few paragraphs remind the reader of the reality of the situation. He compares a town to "a colonial animal...a town has a whole emotion" (21). In the first and fifth chapters, Steinbeck describes Kino's awakening before and after he discovers the pearl. In the first chapter, Kino is at complete peace with the world, observing his surroundings and listening to the waves splashing on the beach. However, his attitude changes drastically in the fifth chapter. Discovering that Juana has left to throw the pearl back into the sea, "rage surged in Kino...quietly he tracked her, and his brain was red with anger" (58). Steinbeck emphasizes how the pearl and the thoughts of wealth and luxury have altered Kino's mind, causing him to act differently.

    Overall, John Steinbeck's The Pearl is a simple story with an important lesson to the reader. I believe that it is well worth a few hours of reading. Steinbeck uses a great writing style and emphasizes key events and ideas to get his purpose across to his readers. He intends for the reader to value his or her emotional and spiritual wealth rather than material wealth....more info
  • The Pearl
    The Pearl is an interesting book. The beginning was a little boring but after a little bit of reading it got very interesting because it takes a simple story and makes it complex. The story is about a man named Kino who lives a modest life with his wife and infant son Coyotito. Kino is a pearler and when he finds “The Pearl of the World,” his life changes for the better. It turns out that the pearl brings only bad luck. I think that this book is well suited for many different age groups, and has a little for everybody. ...more info
  • I was fearful and sad throughout, but there's a lesson to be learned.
    This book was written in 1945 and has sure stood the test of time. It's only 128 pages long but each page is a small well-crafted gem. The story is simple. The time and the place are not named but it probably takes place in Mexico in the 18th or 19th Century.

    Kino and his wife Juana live a hard subsistence existence near the sea. They are young though and have a newborn son. Life is not unpleasant for them. But then, the baby son is bitten by a scorpion and the doctor refuses treatment because the young couple has no money.

    Kino is a pearl diver and, in his search for a pearl that will help him pay the doctor, he comes upon a real treasure. This pearl is magnificent and unique and surely will bring him riches. He dreams of things he can buy and, most especially, he would like to send his son to school so he will not have to suffer the indignities from the powerful people who use the written word to keep Kino's people subservient.

    The story turns into one of horror though because Kino and his family now become the victim of the jealously of the town as everyone tries to cheat him out of his pearl. The baby recovers in spite of mistreatment by the doctor, but Kino kills a man and the small family must flee. Kino must murder several men. Then, there is the ultimate tragedy.

    All of this is told in beautiful lyrical prose. The message, of course, is clear. The pearl has meant nothing but misfortune to the family and must be thrown back into the sea.

    The story is painful to read but I was captured by the theme and by the wonderful language. My emotions were awakened and I was indeed fearful and sad throughout. I loved every word of it though and consider it a mini-masterpiece....more info
  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck
    The Pearl is a classic John Steinbeck storyline, oddly enough the main plot is from an old Mexican folk tale. John Steinbeck took the storyline and crafted it into an intriguing, 90-page novella with questions, a few answers and lots of emotions at the end.

    The story is simple. A scorpion stings the baby of Kino and Juana a couple barely surviving. Kino is a fisher of pearls. Juana is his someday wife. Death is feared for the baby, they go to the doctor's and he shuts them out, Juana tries to stop the poison every way she knows how but still the couple is left worried. Kino and Juana go out to sea, to fish for pearls. While Juana prays dearly that they will find a big pearl that will allow them to see the doctor, Kino dives in search. He comes up with many oysters, he opens one: empty. The second one though reveals a large, beautiful, perfectly shaped pearl. They call it the Pearl of the World. The pearl though leads only to havoc as the colonist doctor cheats them and the pearl traders try as well. Kino is attacked and attacked and the pearl becomes more and more sinister. Until finally...

    I really enjoyed reading this book: the plot is quite gripping, the characters are morphed into a new shape by the end so realistically, the story is grounded in a deep meaning and it's written incredibly well.

    The way it was written was one of the things that made the book for me, it's done in such a fresh style. He used the songs of the people and made them into Kino's emotions and Kino's way of sensing danger. The songs battle each other for precedence in Kino's mind. The main songs that battle throughout are the Song of Evil and the Song of Family. Intertwined with these songs are the Song of the Pearl and the Song of Undersea.

    I'm very glad I read this book and I would recommend it to people who like a good story and a lot of description. John Steinbeck lays the land out so well, describing it better than anyone because he knows it better.

    The Pearl is an excellent and quick read. If you haven't read Of Mice and Men, I would suggest reading it first because it's a better John Steinbeck novel with the same length and some of the same themes. But if you want to just jump into this novel be my guest, it's a great book. ...more info
  • ~The Pearl~
    The book was in terrific shape when I got it! No problems at all! Brand new! Although, I haven't started it yet......more info
  • The Pearl, In The Spotlight
    The Pearl, written by John Steinbeck, is set in Mexico. It is an exciting story of life and death. In a town where everyone is after money, and looks out for no one but those of their own. It's a town in which most people found pearls for a living, but some wear luckier than other.

    When a scorpion stings Kino's son, Coyotito, all hell emerges. With a doctor that won't heal anyone that doesn't have a bag of gold on him or her, and will come close to killing a child for money, it is hard to heal a son.

    I would recommend this book to anyone around the age of ten, eleven, or twelve who is looking for a sad, but exciting story. With its hundreds of twists and turns you may never be able to put this book down. ...more info
  • The Pearl
    The Pearl by John Steinbeck was a book about a man, Kino and his wife, Juana and their baby son Coyotito. His family was very poor in Mexico. The story began with the family waking up and finding a scorpion that had bitten the baby, Coyotito, Kino and Juana couldn't pay a doctor to cure their son, so Kino tried to get money. He did this by going under water and looking for a pearl to sell. He found one, a pearl like no other. The conflict is that the pearl buyers thought that the pearl was valueless but Kino disagreed. So he tries to find a people to buy the pearl for a reasonable price. The plot is getting money for Coyotito to live and be cured. The family went through many obstacles to sell the pearl. I would recommend this book to people who like easy, fast reading books. ...more info
  • A Good Novella
    I'm not going to give my typical review on this book. It's good but there is nothing I can say about it that hasn't already been said by others in the reviews. I certainly do not consider this a 5 star though. A five star book should be one that you will find yourself reading again and again. The Pearl is the classic story of how immediate success can quickly become your biggest nightmare. People might want to read this before taking their trips to Vegas or going down to the local store and buying a lottery ticket. Even if the financial success doesn't change you it is bound to change everyone around....more info
  • A Pearl, a Pearl. All My Kingdom for a Pearl.
    I've been a fan of Steinbeck's ever since reading THE GRAPES OF WRATH when I was a junior in high school. That book was full of vivid imagery and detailed descriptions, but written in a very loose and informal style. It showed me a style of successful writing similar to my own.

    As part of my student teaching, I had considered teaching Steinbeck's THE PEARL as part of the curriculum for the semester. In preparation, I read the novella in one sitting. The book is quite short and though there are several Mexican names and references in the text, the book is also quite easy to read. The story tells the tale of a poor, Mexican diver named Kino and his family.

    Kino is married to a beautiful, hardworking woman named Juana. They have a small baby son named Coyotito. Kino is a devoted husband and father. He loves his family very much. They have very little, but what little they have they willingly share with those around them. During what begins as an idyllic day, baby Coyotito is stung on the shoulder by a scorpion. This event foreshadows everything else that is to come. The scorpion is almost immediately crushed and Juana successfully sucks the poison from the baby's tender flesh. Soon he is no longer crying and is happy and carefree once again. But, Juana is concerned and wished to take the baby to the doctor. Thus, Kino and his family and the Greek chorus of townspeople follows in pursuit as the family reaches the gilded gates of the doctor. The doctor is a dishonest, deceitful, and bloated creature whom lives off the misery, poverty, and affliction of those he is supposed to be serving. The doctor refuses to help and the family return home to the lament of the townspeople. Kino dives for oysters and Juana prays in the boat that Kino finds a pearl and Kino does. He finds "the greatest pearl in the world". It is the Pearl of the World. But, the Pearl of the World is not what it seems. Instead of bringing the family security and sincerity, it brings despair, destruction, and death.

    THE PEARL plays upon the Biblical parable that Jesus told of the pearl of great price. In that tale, the pearl represents the kingdom of God. In THE PEARL, the great pearl that Kino finds is not the kingdom of God. Instead, it is the Pearl of the World. It represents wealth and power, as well as greed and avarice. It is not an item to give up all that one has to own. It is the opposite, an object of evil to either throw away or destroy. The book illustrates how the best intentions can be corrupted and tainted by greed cloaked in innocence. It is a warning that we would all be wise to heed.

    This edition of THE PEARL includes an introduction by Linda Wagner-Martin. It is a very good introduction that gives a synopsis of Steinbeck's life, touches upon some of his successes, and provides the context of where THE PEARL fits in Steinbeck's cannon....more info
  • 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 payment.

    The parents get in their boat to look for a pearl to use as payment, and, amazingly, find one that is referred to as the "moon" -- and is about the size of a goose egg.

    What happens when they go to the dealers to collect their money? You'll have to read this classic novel to find out.

    THE PEARL is a very short book that, honestly, I wouldn't have chosen to read except that it's for school. It's a very basic story, but everything in the book also has a double meaning, which is thought-provoking.

    Reviewed by: Taylor Rector...more info
  • A Tragic Tale
    This story is based on an old Mexican fable. Steinbeck's simplistic style in this novel reflects what a strong influence it had on him. The Pearl is a quick and easy read and does make a strong message about greed. If you've read anything else by Steinbeck, you'll find this story fairly predicatable. Still, the short length and simple style make this an easy afternoon read that you'll probably appreciate....more info
  • The Pearl Review
    What mainly happened in The Pearl is that the main character, Kino, found a pearl. Kino and his wife, Juana tried to help their baby, Coyotito, from the poison of a scorpion. The problem with the pearl is that it gave Kino and his family bad luck. Kino isn't a perfect person. He would beat up Juana. That makes him an unusual main character, but he was interesting. The story took place in Mexico. I would recommend this book to the world, not just boys or girls or a certain age group because it's a good book for anyone. It is a short book but good....more info
  • A Classic
    A classic. You can feel the sun, smell the sea, hear the sounds. Loved it....more info
  • The Pearl
    The book has been a high school req. reading and has been a great summer read....more info
  • Not really useful
    I bought this book for my daughter. Her 8th grade Pre A.P. Literature class was reading it and the teacher encouraged us to buy our own copy. Well, when we got it, the page numbers did not match with the older version the teacher had. So, her reading assignments did not match and she had to use a copy from school. I feel like I wasted $11. My daughter also did not like the uneven "torn" edges of the pages. She said it made it difficult to turn the pages....more info