Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review: ****^The Pearl

The pearl was published in 1947.  It was inspired by a Mexican folk tale from La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico.  This is one of my favorite books.  In this book John Steinbeck weaves the different songs, the song of family and the song of evil and they song of the pearl.  It also shows how what is suppose to be good, and quickly turn to evil because of jealous people.  Also in our own pride, sometimes we forget those we love and should not forget.  This is the story of Kino, his wife Juana and their son Coyotito. 
This book presents an island with a distinction in class.  First there is the upper, educated class.  These are the doctors, the clergy, the civil servants and the buyers of pearls.  Then there is the lower class, people who search for the pearls, but who are confined to always be poor, because of their own lack of education.  There is a situation where they have to sell their pearls in town to the local buyers, who all work for the same person, and so the prices are suppressed.  No one can get ahead, except the buyer of pearls.  The only time anyone takes interest in this family is when word has gone through the community of the great pearl Kino finds.  This is the mother of pearls.  The clergy comes to see him, to remind him of his own marriage and baptism of their boy.  The doctor, who wouldn’t see them earlier in the day, also comes to see them.  There is also evil that takes a notice in Kino.  Someone attempts to steal the pearl.
When Kino finally gets to the sellers, they offer him such a deflated price that Kino knows he is being cheated.  So he takes the pearl, proclaiming he will take it to the capital.  However they cannot let this happen.  SO another attempt to steal the pearl, leads to Kino killing a man.  They flee, but are followed by others intent on killing them and getting the pearl.  The status quo cannot be broken. 
Such a story can only end one way, and tragedy strikes the men following them as well as the family.  This book, with the weaving songs is very enjoyable.  It is like the story is being whispered into your mind and you can see the pictures being painted.

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