The Pearl: Material Society, Material Thoughts


Ever since Midas\' lust for gold, it appears to be that man has acquired a
greed and appetite for wealth. Juana, the Priest, and the doctor have all
undergone a change due to money. They are all affected by their hunger for
wealth and inturn are the base for their own destruction, and the destruction of
society. Steinbeck\'s "The Pearl" is a study of man\'s self destruction through
greed.
Juana, the faithful wife of Kino, a paltry peasant man, had lived a
spiritual life for what had seemed like as long as she could remember. When her
son Coyito fell ill from the bite of a scorpion, she eagerly turned towards the
spiritual aspects of life. Beginning to pray for her son\'s endangered life. The
doctor who had resided in the upper-class section of the town, refused to
assistant the child, turning them away when they arrived at the door. Lastly
they turned to the sea to seek their fortune. When Juana set sight on the
"Pearl of The World." she felt as though all her prayers had been answered, if
she could have foreseen the future what she would have seen would have been a
mirror image of her reality. Juana\'s husband was caught in a twisted realm of
mirrors, and they were all shattering one by one. In the night he heard a
"sound so soft that it might have been simply a thought..." and quickly attacked
the trespasser. This is where the problems for Juana and her family began. The
fear that had mounted in Kino\'s body had taken control over his actions. Soon
even Juana who had always had faith in her husband, had doubted him greatly.
"It will destroy us all" she yelled as her attempt to rid the family of the
pearl had failed. Kino had not listened however, and soon Juana began to lose
her spiritual side and for a long time she had forgotten her prayers that had at
once meant so much to her. She had tried to help Kino before to much trouble
had aroused, only to discover that she was not competent enough to help.
A hypocrathic oath is said before each medical student is granted a Doctors
degree. In the oath they swear to aid the ill, and cure the injured. In the
village of La Paz there lived a doctor who had earned his wealth by helping
those that were ill and could afford his services. Not once in his long career
would he have dared refuse to aid a wealthy lawyer or noblemen. However when
Kino and the group of money hungry peasants arrived at his door with a poisoned
child he had refused them entry saying "Have I nothing better to do than cure
insect bites for \'little Indians\'? I am a doctor, not a veterinary." for the
doctor had known that the peasants hadn\'t any money. He had been to Paris and
had enjoyed the splendors of the world, and therefore he wouldn\'t be seen
dealing with the less fortunate as he knew that the less fortunate would surely
always be just that-less fortunate. However it seemed that he had been
stereotypical of the less fortunate, as he soon discovered when hearing of a
great pearl discovered by the peasants who had knocked upon his door earlier
that day. A hunger for wealth was what pushed him to visit the peasants house
and aid their destitute son. However he had already ended Coyito\'s life without
knowing he\'d done so, for if he had administered aid to Coyito when they were
first at the doctors door, Kino would have no reason to seek his fortune in the
ocean, and would not be led down the road to hardships. One might think that a
doctor, one who has the image of being passive, and caring should not stoop to
such a level.
When one is down on their luck, chances are they will turn to superstition
in hope to acquire what it is that they would want to achieve. A good example
of this would be a good luck charm such as a rabbit\'s foot. In La Paz the
peasants were uneducated and probably had never heard of a superstition. The
peasants only reliability, there only scapegoat was God. God had always been
their to aid them in there times of need. The first reaction of Juana when
seeing the scorpion is a good example of spirituality, rather than attempt to
kill the