First of all, I am in the middle of a contest this week. I also write articles for femiology.com
, a website written by women for women all about woman-ly stuff, like housekeeping, cooking, health, fashion, makeup, fitness, etc. This week, we are doing a contest–the article that gets the most views in a day wins some vouchers for Sizzler. We love Sizzler. I will be posting often this week and sharing the link with y’all, so please help me win!
This is the very short tale (90 pages easy reading) of an indigenous man named Kino and his wife, Juana, and baby in Latin America. They are poor, but love each other and their family dearly. But, one day, their baby, Coyotito gets stung by a scorpion. The poison has affected him. Juana quickly sucks out most of the poison, but they head to the small town to ask help of the white doctor. He refuses to see them because they can’t pay him properly–they only have pitiful, small, worthless pearls. So, Kino goes Pearl diving and finds a large, perfectly spherical, cloudy pearl, which he calls, “The Pearl of the World.” The whole town (white and indigenous) find out and all vie for it. Numerous attempts are made to steal it, cheat it from Kino, and even an attempt on his life. During one of these, Kino accidentally kills a man, so he, Juana, and Coyotito leave the town. They are followed. As Kino tries to protect his family, Coyotito is shot and dies. Kino and Juana return to the town, and throw the pearl back into the sea.
What I really like about this book is the motif of songs. In Kino’s view of life, everything has a song. There is the most important song: the Song of Family. Then, there is the enemy of that song: The Song of Evil. In the beginning, it was the scorpion that had that song. The Pearl at the beginning had a song of hope, but as the story progresses, it becomes the Song of Evil. The whole time, the Song of Family and the Song of Evil are competing.
A theme I really like is the importance of family. You could tell according to Kino’s attention to the Song of Family how much he cared about and loved his family. He would do (and did do) anything and everything for them.
Another I like is the
competition between, attempt at merging the ancient indigenous way of life and the modern Christian life. Juana knows of spirits and evil and wards them off. But, Kino and her want to get married in the Christian church. They are poor and live in a hut, but Kino wants a gun and wants Coyotito to be able to go to school to learn to read and write.
Steinbeck really allows us to know both Kino and Juana very well–we are able to see their thought process, to be able to feel their emotions, know them on a deeper level, all in 90 pages. He writes simplistically, reflecting the simplicity of their indigenous way of life, but so in a sophisticated way!
I definitely would recommend this novel if you have an extra 2-3 hours. I give it a 4.5 out of 5.
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