Quotations and Analysis
“As with all retold tales that are in people’s hearts, there are only good and bad things and black and white things and good and evil things and no in-between anywhere. If this story is a parable, perhaps everyone takes his own meaning from it and reads his own life into it.”
One of the most important devices used is the prologue that introduces the novel’s third person narrators as the towns people. The structure of the prologue signals that the novel is in fact a parable, it also foreshadows the main themes of the novel of good and evil and no other.
“An accident could happen to these oysters, a grain of sand could lie in the folds of muscle and irritate the flesh until in self-protection the flesh coated the grain with a layer of smooth cement. But once started, the flesh continued to coat the foreign body until it fell free in some tidal flurry or until the oyster was destroyed…But the pearls were accidents, and the finding of one was luck, a little pat on the back by God or the gods or both.”
The narrators of the story describe the formation of pearls as a mere accident when a grain of sand enters an oyster. The value of the pearl is an accident and finding one was the will of a higher power. It is in this sense that God willed for Kino to find the pearl and his fortune.
“All manner of people grew interested in Kino – people with things to sell and people with favours to ask. Kino had found the Pearl of the World. The essence of pearl mixed with essence of men and a curious dark residue was precipitated. Every man suddenly became related to Kino’s pearl, and Kino’s pearl went into the dreams, the speculations, the schemes, the plans, the futures, the wishes, the needs, the lusts, the hungers, of everyone, and only one person stood in the way and that was Kino, so that he became curiously every man’s enemy.”
Kino’s news is constantly circulated amongst the town and village people, it could be his fault as he began to voice his ambitions loud enough for people to hear. Although those people pose as Kino’s friends and neighbors and accompany him as a force of support, his new found riches spark greed and envy within their once loyal and harmonious unison.
It could be that those people are his concerned neighbors in broad daylight, but when night time comes they turn into the envious and greedy attackers who try to take Kino’s plans and ambition as their own. It seems the evil of the pearl brings out the inherent evil in mankind.
“Thus Kino’s future was real, but having set it up, other forces were set up to destroy it, and this he knew, so that he had to prepare to meet the attack. And this Kino knew also – that the gods do not love men’s plans, and the gods do not love success unless it comes by accident. He knew that the gods take their revenge on a man if he be successful through his own efforts. Consequently Kino was afraid of plans, but having made one, he could never destroy it.”
Kino was taught as a child that ambition beyond one’s means is a sin punishable by the gods. He is aware that the attackers who plan to steal the pearl are doomed to fail, but he is also aware that his plans and ambitions are also doomed to fail by god.
The price Kino has to pay for his sin is the death of his son Coyotito which teaches him valuable lessons. That money cannot buy him happiness, and that over ambition and greed is man’s true folly.
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