Theme of Greed in The Pearl by John Steinbeck Summary

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Greed, the natural world, and dignity are all dealt with throughout The Pearl by John Steinbeck These are all dealt with throughout the novel because of the pearl which gave Kino his dream world. The pearl results in him being greedy, he is given dignity through wealth, and he has to start to deal with the natural world which he soon realizes is not to be trusted.

Greed is an intense and selfish desire for something especially wealth or power, which can show who they truly are. This is presented in The Pearl by John Steinbeck by the acts of the doctor, Kino, and even his neighbors. The pearl started off as a way to pay for Coyotito’s medication ended up turning mainly Kino into a money hungry man. As you read through the Pearl we see how even a poor man can become so greedy when coming across that amount of money, and drive someone so rich as a doctor to commit such an act, such as stealing from a not so fortunate family.

Greed can change anyone completely. For example, greed made Kino capable of committing actions he would never have thought of if it wasn’t for the pearl. Kino’s desire for wealth became powerful when he got offered up to fifteen hundred dollars for his pearl and he stated, “‘My pearl is not for sale here. I will go, perhaps even to the capitol’”(Steinbeck 54). For any other poor man fifteen hundred dollars would have been a gift, but Kino felt as if he should betray his beliefs and go to the capitol to receive more. The idea of all the money he would gain had distracted Kino from the real reason he wanted the money in the first place which was to save his first born son. This is ironic because all his greed resulted in his baby dying when Kino could have accepted the fifteen hundred dollars and lived healthily with his family.

The natural world is definitely not to be trusted and this is something that Kino learns quickly. A man makes up a dream-like vision that are not true representations of reality. The pearl itself is a representation of the natural world and proves that man can destroy what was once beautiful and pure. We see this happen in the novel when Kino finds the pearl and quickly begins to make plans for a new life. He only wants his new life and does everything he can to make it become a reality. Plans were quickly being made on what Kino could now have because he was a “rich man”.

Kinos new pearl makes him realize that nothing is impossible. He talks about getting married, giving Coyotito the right education, getting him and his family new clothes, and even getting himself a new rifle. When Kino was a poor man he never took much for granted, but once he became a rich man he took everything he once had and took it for granted. You are stuck in the life that you were given and you cannot change that. Once Kino saw the life he wanted, he began to go after it, but he crushed everything in his way. The natural world should not be trusted especially once you’ve destroyed everything you’ve always known. Never take what you are given for granted because the natural world won’t always be so kind to you, and can easily take away your gifts.

Kino’s dignity shoots up after he uncovers the great pearl. An immense move that shows his dignity is when the doctor chooses to treat Coyotito after Juana and Kino already got rejected when they went to his house seeking treatment. Later in the day the doctor showed up at Kino and Juanas doorstep offering to give treatment to their son. The only reason the doctor showed up is because he knew they now had the pearl and money to pay.

As soon as the doctor was inside the house he asked Kino about the pearl, but Kino told him it was placed somewhere secure. The doctor was hoping that as Kino said it was hidden and secured that he might look towards where it was hidden so he could then steal it and gain wealth. The pearl is Kinos dignity because having the doctor come to their house to treat Coyotito was a great honor, and would give him tons of respect. Kino would gain respect from this because everyone wanted the pearl and the gift within.

Never take what you have for granted because your greed and dignity can get to you giving the natural world the perfect opportunities to destroy you and your “perfect world”. Greed, the natural world, and dignity can all get the best of you just like it did to Kino and his family.


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Theme of Greed in The Pearl by John Steinbeck Summary. (2021, Mar 21). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/theme-of-greed-in-the-pearl-by-john-steinbeck/



What are 3 themes in the pearl?
The three themes in The Pearl are the destructive nature of greed, the corrupting influence of power, and the importance of family and community. These themes are explored through the experiences of Kino, Juana, and their son Coyotito as they navigate the consequences of finding a valuable pearl.
What are some examples of greed in the pearl?
Some examples of greed in "The Pearl" are when Kino wants to buy a new canoe and when he wants to buy new clothes.
What is the main theme of the pearl by John Steinbeck?
The main theme of the pearl by John Steinbeck is greed.
Why was Kino greedy in the pearl?
The tone of "The Tell-Tale Heart" is intense and suspenseful.
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