Discuss how the author of the novel has used symbolism — The Pearl by John Steinbeck
Symbolism is a useful tool in story telling because it helps the author add a deeper meaning to the story.
Kino views the pearl as the blessing of a lifetime. At first the pearl is a symbol of freedom. Kino and his family could finally be freed from the oppression of poverty and a meagre existence. This means beautiful wedding for his wife and education for his son.
The pearl is also a symbol of evil. As the village and town learn of the pearl envy sets in. Attempts are made to steal the pearl, leading to Kino’s assault, the burned home and ultimately Coyotito’s death.
The scorpion is also interpreted as the magnitude of the poverty of the family. The fact that they had no means to pay for the antivenom shows what little they had.
Juana symbolizes the voice of reason. While she too is initially drawn to the fantasy of wealth, she quickly realizes the true nature of the pearl and tries to convince Kino to get rid of it. Juana even tries to get rid of the pearl herself, which she was attacked for.
Juana is also a symbol of loyalty. Even though she despises the pearl. She stays with Kino. Kino goes as far as striking her but she still stayed by his side. Kino even gives her the chance to escape with baby to ensure their safety but she stayed with him.
The priest is also symbolic. He is very hesitant to help Kino and Juana in the beginning. The priest only comes to help when he learns of the pearl. This shows that all men are susceptible to the temptation of greed even men of God.
The doctor is also a symbol of corruption of man and also represents oppression. He could have easily helped coyotito when he was stung, but refused service when they couldn’t pay. This conveyed his dislike of the village people and general disregard for the poor.
Introduction - (2 marks)
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