How does Steinbeck’s narrative style in “The Pearl” make it a more effective story?
· Title – “The Pearl”
· Author – John Steinbeck
· Date – 1945
“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.
– 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.
– 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.”
– 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
– 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