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Notes on Characters from The Pearl

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The Pearl Major Characters

Kino: Kino is a young pearl diver who feels his obligation to his family very strongly. He knows his place as the provider and works hard to supply for his family's needs. He finds The Pearl of the World and expects to use it to pay for his son, Coyotito's, education. He also dreams that with the pearl he can buy his family new clothes and a rifle for himself, but the pearl only brings him trouble. His neighbors turn on him and try to steal the pearl from him and he has to leave his home after killing an attacker. Although it was self-defense, he knows that his family is in danger. He and Juana run away with Coyotito, but trackers follow them. He knows that they are after the pearl and that they will catch his family, so he sneaks into their camp and kills them all. In the shooting that goes on in the camp, a stray bullet kills his son. He and Juana return to La Paz with their dead child and they throw the pearl into the sea.

Juana: Juana is Kino's strong, quiet wife who takes care of her family. The rhythm of her motions is the Song of Family for Kino. She obeys her husband in most instances, but when she realizes that the pearl is only bringing trouble to her family, she urges him to throw it away. He refuses, and while he sleeps, she takes the pearl to the beach and is about to throw it in, when Kino catches her and beats her for taking the pearl. She accompanies her husband out of La Paz and urges him again to get rid of the cursed pearl, but he won't until their son, Coyotito, is accidentally shot by a tracker's rifle. After the tragedy, Kino and Juana walk side by side back to La Paz and throw the pearl into the sea together.

Coyotito: Coyotito is Kino and Juana's first-born child who is stung by a scorpion and needs medical treatment. Unfortunately, the local doctor will not treat the baby because Kino has no money. When the doctor hears about Kino's pearl, he comes to treat Coyotito. Kino expects that the pearl will purchase great things for his family, the greatest being an education for his son so that they cannot be cheated by the merchants and the other upper class citizens of La Paz who have taken advantage of Kino's people for four hundred years. But that great dream is destroyed when Coyotito is killed by a gunshot while Kino is killing the trackers who are following them. Kino killed them to protect his family and the pearl and the dream of the future that the pearl provided, but his dream and his family are destroyed when Coyotito dies. Kino and Juana return to La Paz with Coyotito's small body and throw the pearl into the sea.

Minor Characters

Juan Tomas: Juan Tomas is Kino's older brother. Juan gives Kino advice about selling the pearl. He walks beside Kino when they travel to the pearl buyers. Later, he warns his brother that by refusing to sell his pearl to the buyers, Kino is defying their way of life and putting his family in danger. When Kino seeks refuge with Juan Tomas, he is granted it. Juan gathers supplies that Kino and Juana will need on their journey and protects his brother's family until they depart.

Apolonia: Apolonia is Juan Tomas' wife. She follows her husband as he escorts Kino into town to sell the pearl, and she raises a formal mourning when Kino's hut burns and no sign of them is found.

Doctor: The doctor is wealthier than the peasants of La Paz, and he scoffs at natives, like Kino and Juana, who seek his treatment without money. When Kino and Juana brought Coyotito to the doctor to heal the scorpion sting, he refused them. Later, when he heard that Kino had found the Pearl of the World, he came to their hut to treat the baby. He pretended not to know that Kino had found a great pearl, so that when Kino talked about it, he could watch to see if his eyes went to the spot where it was buried in the hut. Sure enough, Kino gave its location away and that night someone came to his hut to dig out the pearl, but Kino had since moved it. Kino stabbed at the intruder, but did not make a fatal swing and the intruder (possibly the doctor) hit him in the head and then escaped.

Trackers: Two trackers and a man with a rifle followed Kino and Juana out of La Paz. Kino saw them coming while Juana hid in the woods. When Kino realized that they were tracking him, he and Juana hurried up to the smooth rocks of the mountains so that they would be harder to follow. When night fell, the trackers were just below the cave in which Kino, Juana, and Coyotito were hiding. Kino sneaked down the sheer face of the mountain and into their camp and killed them all. In the chaos, Coyotito was shot and killed.

The Priest: The priest was the local religious authority, and when he learned of Kino's pearl, he hoped that he could convince Kino to use his wealth for the good of the church. He made a visit to Kino's hut that night to talk to Kino about his duty to give part of his wealth to God, who had ultimately created the pearl.

The Buyers: The pearl buyers of the town acted as if they worked for themselves, but they were actually all controlled by one man. The pretense of competition among the pearl buyers made it easier to cheat the Indians out of their pearls. By putting on a show of competing over the best price, the man in charge and the buyers were adept at ripping off the natives. When they told Kino that his great pearl was worth only a thousand pesos, he got angry and left to take the pearl to the capital. That night, Kino's family was attacked in their home, and he believed that the buyers were responsible for it.

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