The Pearl is a retelling of an old folktale which has a strong message about the corruption and evil that springs from wealth and power.Kino is a poor fisherman with a young family who finds an enormous pearl. He dreams of the many ways he can spend his newfound wealth. Soon his community’s curiosity and good will turn to envy and spite. They try to cheat Kino and when that doesn’t work they resort to violence in an attempt to take the pearl for themselves. Kino is forced to flee the town with trackers hot on his trail.
There is a strong morality theme throughout the entire book, Steinbeck never lets the reader forget that despite the outward promise of riches and happiness the pearl only brings misery and pain. The futility of chasing money is spelled out clearly here. The metaphors are as subtle as a slap in the face with a brick but the message is poignant and ageless. It isn’t telling us anything new but at the same time a reminder doesn’t hurt.
It is a far cry from some of Steinbeck’s more popular works and certainly not one of his best but it was an entertaining novella and worth a read as a Steinbeck fan.
Overall rating 3.5/5Chris