The Pearl Essay

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Elyse Lord teaches writing at the University of Utah. In the following essay, she argues that, while The Pearl literally dramatizes the plight of a man who is caught between the material world and the spiritual world, the novel insists upon a more symbolic reading, too.

Perhaps the most outspoken critic of The Pearl has been Warren French, who criticized author John Steinbeck for using a traditional tale (the legend of the Indian boy who accidentally finds a large pearl) to make his "cautionary points" about the dangers of materialism. According to French, Kino's struggles would be more meaningful to readers of the Woman's Home Companion, where the story was first published, than to Mexican listeners of the original folk tale. French's criticisms are only partially valid.

Kino's discovery that the economic value of the pearl is controlled by a few powerful men can be read as a...

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This section contains 1,931 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Pearl Study Guide
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