Written at a time of moral disillusionment and uncertainty, John Steinbeck’s The Pearl questions the very foundations of the American dream.
A second or third reading is probably required before I can say anything meaningful (i.e. something that isn’t blatantly obvious); nevertheless, I enjoyed reading this.
For some reason, I assumed that Steinbeck’s writing would be dry, but it was wonderfully ethereal and pared down. Poetic. And, for once, I was satisfied with the ending. Not only was it beautifully written, but there was a completeness to it, probably because of its folk-tale origins.
And the pearl settled into the lovely green water and dropped towards the bottom. The waving branches of the algae called to it and beckoned to it. The lights on its surface were green and lovely. It settled down to the sand bottom among the fern-like plants. Above, the surface of the water was a green mirror. And the pearl lay on the floor of the sea. A crab scampering over the bottom raised a little cloud of sand, and when it settled the pearl was gone.
And the music of the pearl drifted to a whisper and disappeared.
There is a touch of irony in the nature of the pearl (perfect as the moon, large as a seagull’s egg). The pearl buyers attempt to cheat Kino but their lies ring true to an extent. Wealth is fool’s gold: worthless, deceptive. This is a parable with a clear moral: greed leads to misfortune; materialism to destruction.
I apologise for the poor review. Am currently experiencing some difficulty stringing sentences together.