The Pearl – Essay In Progress

How does Steinbeck’s narrative style in “The Pearl” make it a more effective story?

·      Title – “The Pearl”
·      Author – John Steinbeck
·      Date – 1945
·      Gist
·      Intention

“The Pearl” was written by novelist John Steinbeck in 1945. It is the story of a Mexican peasant, Kino, whose life is destroyed by the wealth brought from the discovery of a giant pearl. This essay will look at how Steinbeck’s style makes the story more effective.

Para 1

        Simplicity of language
        Makes story clear/ universal – like the Bible
        Largest audience possible
        “Now Kino got up and wrapped his blanket about his head and nose and shoulders. He slipped his feet into his sandals and went outside to watch the dawn.”
        Simple/ simple compound sentences. Very few clauses.
One way in which Steinbeck makes his narrative more effective is by using a very simple kind of language. By keeping this simple, the story becomes easy to understand by the largest readership possible, something which the Bible also does. For example, when he writes, “Now Kino got up and wrapped his blanket about his head and nose and shoulders. He slipped his feet into his sandals and went outside to watch the dawn”, Steinbeck uses simple compound sentences, which are uncluttered by multiple clauses. This makes the narrative more effective.

Para 2

        Oral tradition
        Steinbeck’s inspiration
        Echoes of the Bible – something that has existed for a long time, finally written down
        Use of “And” – sense of improvisation
        “And word of the loveliness of Kino’s pearl had come to them.”
Para 3

        Parable
        Simple language is often metaphorical or symbolic.
        “Kino awakened in the near dark”
        The darkness suggests Kino is surrounded by evil – the “dark” is metaphorical and literal
        Message/ lesson for the reader – not stated – must be decoded
Para 4

Recurring symbols
        The pearl itself – initially a symbol of hope and ambition
        Later reveals its evil and the destructive power of greed
        The canoe symbolises Kino’s traditional work
        When it is destroyed (because of the pearl) Kino’s link to his traditional role is broken
        These symbols carry implied meanings for the reader
        Consistent with parables

Conclusion

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