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The Synopsis of The Pearl by John Steinbeck

Tags: kino pearl
The following is the synopsis of John Steinbeck's novella, 'The Pearl'.

Kino, a pearl diver, lives in a little brush house by the sea near La Paz, with his wife Juana and their firstborn son Coyotito. They live their live peacefully in harmony until the enemy in the form of scorpion stings Coyotito at one lovely morning. Juana lifts the screaming child and tries to suck the poison from the puncture on his swollen shoulder while Kino is crushing the scorpion into a pulp with his bare hands. In her frightened face Juana asks the doctor to cure the baby.

Juana carrying Coyotito and followed by Kino and the neighbors makes her way from the village to the town to see the doctor. The doctor, who is an ignorant, cruel, greedy man instructs his servant to send them away after making sure that they have no money to pay for treatment. Kino, feeling bitterly humiliated strikes his fist on the doctor's gate, drawing blood from his knuckles.

Kino returns to the beach with his family and they go out with their canoe, hoping to find a pearl valuable enough to pay the doctor. Kino searches among the rocks of the sea bottom. He finds a very large oyster lying by itself, brings it to the canoe, opens it, and discovers the most beautiful and perfect pearl in the world. At the same time, Juana discovers that Coyotito seems to be recovering from the scorpion sting.
The news of Kino's pearl spread rapidly through the town, and all kinds of people become involved in Kino and his Pearl of The World. The priest at the church wonders if he has baptized Kino's baby. The shopkeepers hope to sell their wares to him. The beggars are thrilled, for they know that a poor man who suddenly becomes rich is the best of alm-givers. When the doctor hears the news, he claims that he is treating Kino's child for a scorpion sting. The pearl buyers hear about Kino's pearl, and each person imagines how he can start afresh with new capital by buying Kino's pearl. In fact, Kino's pearl play a new and curious part in the dreams and aspirations of all the people in the town. Thus, Kino somehow has become everyone's enemy. However, Kino and Juana do not realize it.

drawn by the pearl, the priest come to their brush house and Kino hears the music of enemy. Later, the doctor arrives and pretends to examine the baby, who is now almost completely recovered. Their fear awaken by the cunnig doctor.  Kino and Juana permit the doctor to treat Coyotito. When they are alone, Kino buries the pearl in the earth floor of their brush hut. During the night Kino is hurt when he fights with an intruder who comes into their hut to search for the pearl. Juana, frightened, begs Kino to destroy the pearl before it destroys them. However, Kino is determined that they will have bright future promised by the pearl.
On the day when Kino intends to sell his pearl, the whole town wakes early in anticipation. On this secial day, the sun is hot yellow in the gulf. For Kino and Juana, this is the turning point of their life. The neighbors are dressed and ready to accompany Kino on this historic occasion. They start to go and Kino's brother, Juan Tomas walks with him.

In town, the first pearl buyer says that the pearl is valueless. To prove that he is true, he calls three other dealers, who are secretly his accomplices. They belittle the pearl and offer even lesser. Angrily, Kino refuses to sell his pearl and determined to get a better price even if he must go to the capital himself. Kino's brother, Juan Tomas warns him that he has threatened the whole structure of life and will suffer the consequence of his deviance. Worried and depressed, Kino has become afraid even of the darkness around his house, but goes out to meet the unknown terror of the night. After the second assault on Kino, Juana again pleads him to destroy the pearl. Kino has made up his mind and they will sell the pearl in capital city.
One early morning, Juana takes the pearl and try to throw it back into the sea. Kino prevents her and strikes her and then he walks up the beach towards his brush house. He is attacked once more, and in the scuffle Kino kill his assailant. As he is now a murderer, he has no choice but flee. At the beach, Kino finds his precious canoe has been destroyed. At the same time, his brush house has burnt. The family takes refuge in Kino's brother house until evening comes when they leave quietly for the north.

They walk all night and at dawn hide in a little clearing near the road. Kino takes out his pearl to look for the bright vision of the future. Instead he sees the dreadful images of the past view days: a dead body with blood dripping from his throat, the beaten Juana crawling on the ground, and Coyotito's feverish face. The music of the pearl has become evil to Kino. Kino sleeps uneasily and awakes to find that men from the town has discover their trail. He sees three men in the distance, one on the horseback and two on foot who are the trackers. Kino wants to surrender, but Juana convinces him that the hunters would not spare any of their lives. They are now hunted like animals. They flee toward the mountains. Kino wants Juana hide with the baby while he draws the hunters away. Kino gains strength from Juana's resolution and they press on, toward a little spring with pools of waters in the mountains. They hide in a small cave, hoping the hunters will miss them. However, the hunters stop to rest by the pool. As night approaching, two of the men sleep while one watches and holds a riffle. Kino knows that their only chance is to kill the men before dawn reveals their hiding place. He makes a plan and tells Juana that if he is killed, she must go on with the baby to Loreto in the north. His plan goes wrong. When the man hears the murmuring sound from the cave, he lifts up his riffle and fires. As the watching man fires from his riffle, Kino as fast as possible leaps on him and kills him and then the other two. Only then does he hear the hysterical cry of death from the cave. Kino is as cold and deadly as steel. But something bothers him. He is uncertain what to do.

Everyone in La Paz remembers the return of Kino's family. Kino and Juana walk into the city through the country road. They walk side by side, not as usual with Juana behind. Kino has a riffle across his arms, Juana carries a small limp bundle in her shawl, slung across her shoulder. The shawl is crusted with dry blood. They walk in a strangely state, as though unaware of their surrounding, so tha the people looking at them are overawed. Together they go down to the beach. Kino takes the pearl in his hand and gazes into it for the last time. For Kino he pearl looks ugly and its music is distorted. In it he sees little Coyotito with the top of his head shot away. Kino offer the pearl to Juana, but she refuses. Then, with the strongest power of him, Kino flings the pearl into the sea and it sinks down through the water and then is gone. The music of the pearl, soft as a whisper, disappears. 

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The Synopsis of The Pearl by John Steinbeck


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