Steinbeck’s The Pearl

“In the surface of the great pearl he could see dream forms. He picked the pearl from the dying flesh and held it in his palm, and he turned it over and saw that its curve was perfect.”

But that perfection doesn’t last in John Steinbeck’s novella The Pearl. It is a sad folk tale about a pearl diver who finally finds “the greatest pearl in the world” and the tragedy that potential wealth brings to his family. Kino looks in the big pearl and sees a path out of poverty. But Steinbeck foretells the tragedy in this sentence by writing the pearl came from “dying flesh.” The language in the story is simple and visual so it’s not surprising that it was made into a movie in 1948. What did you think of this bleak moral fable?

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