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A 1947 novella by John Steinbeck.

The Pearl is the story of Kino, a poor diver. Kino's son, Coyotito, is stung by a scorpion. In order to pay the doctor to cure him, Kino goes diving for pearls. (It's his job anyway, but it's got extra urgency now.) He eventually finds the Pearl of the World, but it brings him nothing but trouble.

The story was filmed in 1947.


Tropes:

  • Ambition Is Evil
  • Artifact of Attraction
  • Artifact of Doom: Sort of, because Humans Are Bastards.
  • Does Not Wear Shoes: Juana, probably due to Barefoot Poverty.
  • Downer Ending: Coyotito is killed. Kino and Juana throw away the pearl.
  • Fat Bastard: The doctor. (Less prominently, the dealer from the second act is described as a "stout" man.) Both stand out next to the poverty of Kino and his family.
  • Gold Fever: More like pearl fever.
  • Greed: A major theme in the book. Leading to...
  • Humans Are Bastards
  • It Got Worse: Oh, so very much.
  • It's All Junk
  • Jerkass: The doctor who treats Coyotito comes to mind...
  • Littlest Cancer Patient (okay, it's not cancer exactly, but...)
  • Leitmotif: A literary example in Kino and Juana's Song of Family and The Pearl's Song of Evil
  • Lost Aesop: The original moral is supposed to be interpreted as 'Greed is bad'. Since when was curing your child of poison and wanting to get your kid an education greedy? Or getting officially married?
    • Looked at in the cultural context of the setting, and the lack of education of the lower classes, it would actually make sense. Consider: In listing the things he wants to achieve with the riches from the pearl, Kino says he will legally marry Juana and buy the family new clothes. Okay, reasonable. Then he goes on to say he wants to get a rifle for himself (he does eventually), and he'll send Coyotito to school - this last a major deal for his neighbors because of the cultural influence education will have on their simple way of life that they've known for generations. Then, later on in the novel, Kino rehashes these dreams, but his rendition of them is gradually much more grandiose than when they were first mentioned.
  • MacGuffin: The pearl, of course.
  • Meaningful Name: Coyotito is, if it wasn't clear enough, named after a coyote. Which leads to him being shot in the head when his cries are mistaken for that of a coyote's
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Kino goes on one in the penultimate chapter.
  • We Could Have Avoided All This: After Kino refuses the pearl dealer's offer of 1000 and then 1500 pesos for the pearl (because he believes it's worth at least fifty times that much and that the dealer's trying to cheat him), some of his neighbors express the view that he should have accepted the 1500, since that's wealth enough to a poor man who's never had any money. Considering what happens in the last third of the novel, they may have been right.
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