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The Pearl

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3.43  ·  Rating details ·  160,758 Ratings  ·  6,860 Reviews
The Pearl is Steinbeck's flawless parable about wealth and the evil it can bring. When Kino, an Indian pearl-diver, finds 'the Pearl of the world' he believes that his life will be magically transformed. He will marry Juana in church and their little boy, Coyotito, will be able to attend school. Obsessed by his dreams, Kino is blind to the greed, fear and even violence the ...more
Hardcover, Clothbound, 91 pages
Published August 7th 2014 by Penguin Classics (first published 1947)
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Duane Well... I think nowadays we're supposed to apply situational ethics here, aren't we? To wit... :

If Steinbeck was a Liberal, we're supposed to excuse…more
Well... I think nowadays we're supposed to apply situational ethics here, aren't we? To wit... :

If Steinbeck was a Liberal, we're supposed to excuse him by saying that"he was a man of his time", (like Woodrow Wilson belonging to the KKK, etc.).

But if he was a Conservative, then we're supposed to immediately write him off completely as being a racist sexist bigoted homophobe, etc.

Did I get that right? My PC-Ometer hasn't been calibrated recently so it may be a little rusty...
(less)
Laura Herzlos Unless they totally have to, I would not recommend it. There are much better books, better written than this one. Depending on how fast they read and…moreUnless they totally have to, I would not recommend it. There are much better books, better written than this one. Depending on how fast they read and their vocabulary level, it can even be read in 3-4 hours, even, so I'd say a few days is more than enough.
But seriously, unless it's mandatory, I'd go for something better.(less)

Community Reviews

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Brina
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Steinbeck's chilling novella The Pearl is the short story selection in the group catching up on classics for January 2017. In his retelling of a Mexican folktale, Steinbeck tells the tale of a fisherman named Kino who finds the pearl of the world on one of his dives. Showing how money is the root of all evil, Steinbeck delivers a poignant tale.

First published in 1945, The Pearl is the story of Kino, Juana, and their baby Coyotito who one day discover a giant pearl on one of their fishing e
...more
Matthew
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Steinbeck does it again. All my experiences with his writings have been fantastic. Every word, every description, every plot point, every twist - perfect!

The Pearl is very short but very amazing. It is a tale of greed and how people around wealth or who come upon sudden wealth are affected. Many of us think our life would be perfect if we won the lottery, but I think all of us could benefit from the lessons in this story.

I picked this book now because I am on vacation in Hatteras, NC, and the lo
...more
Henry Avila
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Innocence turning to greed, and how people react to another man's good fortune, is the major theme of John Steinbeck's popular novella, The Pearl, set apparently in the early 20th century, ( the author is rather vague on the subject) in the then small, sleepy town, now a major city of La Paz, Baja California, Mexico, near the tip of the astonishing long peninsula, 775 miles ...Our main character is Kino, a young, poor Mexican man in his early 20's of Indian extraction, living in a remote part of ...more
Cecily
It was a morning like other mornings and yet perfect among mornings.”

This novella opens with the simple contentment of a young Mexican pearlfisher: at peace with his life, wife, and baby, living in a tightknit community, and accompanied by the “Song of the Family” that plays in his mind.

Pearls, by contrast, are a consequence of imperfection - possibly of pain or discomfort. But from the irritation caused by stray sand, rare transfixing beauty can occur. Unlike gold and diamonds, a pearl needs n
...more
Dolors
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Seekers of pearls of wisdom instead of riches
Recommended to Dolors by: A bookseller in Monterey
Shelves: read-in-2014, dost
“They had made songs to the fishes, to the sea in anger and to the sea in calm, to the light and the dark and the sun and the moon, and the songs were all in Kino and in his people – every song that had ever been made, even the ones forgotten.”

Can you hear it?
A melody shrouded in ancestral mystery can be heard amidst the roaring waves lapping at the shores of this pulsating narration. Summoning songs of despair and songs of hope, soothing lullabies and wrathful incantations, this folkloric tale
...more
brian
goodreads david writes this: I'm convinced that the general besmirchers of Steinbeck are fucktards, asswads, and vibrating pustules.

it's nice as a reader (bad, i guess, as a reviewer) when a writer achieves can-do-no-wrong status. reading steinbeck i feel less distance between the writer -> his words -> myself than with nearly any other writer. his prose stylings can't touch his contemporaries, his structure and pacing can be sloppy, he's sentimental, preachy, overly didactic, and his them
...more
Cindy Newton
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a deceptively simple Mexican fable. It's written by Steinbeck, so of course, it's written beautifully. The story is pretty straightforward--poor, uneducated peasant finds monster pearl and now has everything previously denied to him within his grasp. Or does he?

*** SPOILERS AHEAD ***

Kino is happy despite his poverty and his low position on the social scale. He and the other natives in his village are under the control of the wealthy Spanish people who have taken up residence in the nicer
...more
Issa Deerbany
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobel-winners
من اروع ما فرأت ، هل كانت اللؤلؤة تحمل اغنية الشيطان كما عبر عنها المؤلف.
الفقير، الصياد الباحث عن الآليء الذي لا يملك علاج ابنه يعثر على لؤلؤة وجد فيها فرصته وفرصة ابنه في حياة حريمه وأهمها التعليم وإعلان زواجه في الكنيسة.
فجأة زاره القس والطبيب الذي رفض علاج ابنه تغيرت نظرة الناس له .
وأكنه من الهنود سكان المكسيك الأصليين الذين منذ ٤٠٠ عاما تعودوا على الطاعه فهذا هو نظام الحياة وتآمروا عليه بسعر اللؤلؤة ولكنه تمرد وأعلن هدم الطاعه.
أراد ان يتشبث بحقك في حياة كريمة ، رغم محاولة زوجته التخلص منها بع
...more
Mario
Nov 08, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, it's just not very good. I keep debating whether I should rate it one star or two, but ultimately the Goodreads definition of the two-star rating, "it was ok," pushes me over the edge. It wasn't ok; nothing about this was ok.

The writing style is bad, though I haven't read enough Steinbeck to know whether his stilted, awkward prose is just an affectation for this work (in an insulting attempt to illustrate that his main characters are poorly educated), or whether he is just always like t
...more
Mohammed  Ali
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
اللؤلؤلة .. رائعة شتاينباك .

وفجأة .. الآن بين يديك الوسيلة لتحقيق حلمك، وفجأة .. أنت الآن تنظر بعينين زائغتين، تنظر إلى الماضي وهو يختلط بالمستقبل، ما كان حلما سيصير حقيقة، تزدحم داخلك الخواطر فتعبر الأمنيات من الماضي إلى المستقبل وتختلط وتتداخل فيغدوا الماضي وهما كأنّه لم يكن ويغدوا المستقبل حقيقة كأنّه لم يكن من قبل رسما على خيال، وفجأة .. بين يديك الآن تذكرة تقلّك من وإلى .. من حالة إلى حالة .. من وضعية إلى وضعية .. من ظرف إلى ظرف .. من فقر إلى غنى .. من شقاء إلى راحة .. من حلم إلى واقع مست
...more
Fernando
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Qué hermoso libro. Una historia sencilla, narrada en forma clara, sin rodeos ni términos difíciles. Steinbeck logra atraparme siempre con sus libros. Al igual que como con "De Ratones y Hombres", "La Perla" nos muestra una historia en donde apreciamos la naturaleza humana al desnudo, las emociones a flor de piel en situaciones límites. No he leído "Las Uvas de la Ira" ni "Al Este del Edén", pero siento que Steinbeck es poderoso en este tipo de novelas cortas. En este libro todo gira alrededor de ...more
Julie
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, John Steinbeck and his editor walk into a bar. . . (disclaimer: I'm making this up) and John's editor says, "John, it's so bor-ing being your editor. I mean, you've written the Great American novel, you've won the Pulitzer, you've fought for the poor man, you've made your fiction read like non-fiction and your non-fiction read like fiction."

John lights a smoke, takes a slug of beer, grunts. Reports from the war hum from a radio at the bar and his editor finds the courage to continue.

"Well.
...more
Timothy Urges
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
She was as remote and as removed as Heaven.

The Pearl is a beautifully written tale of avarice and the power of ignorance.
Kaya
Jan 27, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Steinbeck's book I've read, though it won't be the last, despite the horrible first impression. I hate everything in this book - from it's anticlimactic writing to its incommodious characters. There is nothing worth praise in here. After I reached the end, I've been so angry and almost ready to punch something.

Poor Indian, who lives in the South America with his wife and their baby, finds giant pearl, decides to sell it and then use the money to buy medicine for his child, who
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
The pearl, John Ernst Steinbeck (1902 - 1968)
The Pearl is a novella by American author John Steinbeck, first published in 1947. It is the story of a pearl diver, Kino, and explores man's nature as well as greed, defiance of societal norms, and evil. Steinbeck's inspiration was a Mexican folk tale from La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico, which he had heard in a visit to the formerly pearl-rich region in 1940. In 1947, it was adapted into a Mexican film named La perla and in 1987 into a cult Kann
...more
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*

Read it and philosophize while you read it and weep.

Sometimes I have to wonder what the people who write the back blurbs of these books are thinking (or smoking). The back says "THE PEARL is a book to be read many times and cherished forever." What they're talking about, I can't imagine. If you choose to get pissed over and over again, then by all means keep reading this tragic story.

I get what Steinbeck is saying in his beautiful writing voice - to be content with what is had and to not let th
...more
Madeline
Poor pearl diver in South America finds giant-ass pearl, decides to sell it and use the money to buy medicine for his baby, who just got bitten by a scorpion. The mierda hits the fan, people die, everything generally goes to hell in a handbasket, and it all happens in about the space of time it took you to read this review.

Verdict: meh.

Read for: 10th grade English
jessica
i have had this sitting on my bookshelf for a while now (about 5 years! what?!) so i finally decided to read it. and, although i didnt enjoy it as much as some of his other novels, i appreciated the cautionary message of the story and the classic steinbeck writing style.

3 stars
Connie
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Steinbeck adapted a Mexican folk tale into a novella about fate, evil, the perils of greed, and the plight of oppressed people. The infant son of Juana and Kino, a fisherman and pearl diver, is stung by a scorpion. The doctor refuses to treat the baby because Kino does not have the money to pay him, and because the affluent Spanish colonialists look down at the natives. Kino dives for pearls in the hope that he could afford to pay a doctor, and comes up with a huge, valuable pearl--the "Pea ...more
Nilesh Kashyap
It was a big mistake I made 3 days ago, I was going to start 'Charlotte's Web' but instead I started 'The Pearl' thinking it was written before ‘Of Mice and Men’ and on just finishing I found it was written much later. All I remember is my decision to read books in sequence they were published. Anyway it can’t be undone.

The Review:

“In the town they tell the story of the great pearl” how it was found and how it was lost again. They tell of Kino, the fisherman, and of his wife, Juana, and of the
...more
Fiona MacDonald
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
A simple story about a young man who finds a pearl, and the tragic consequences that greed can bring, yet I came away from this absolutely gobsmacked with the intensity and beauty of Steinbeck's writing. It was powerful, gripping and heartbreaking, all in less than 100 pages. I can only liken this to Hemingway's 'The Old Man and the Sea' - utterly flawless.
Betsy Robinson
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can’t help it. I’m seeing everything I’m reading these days through the metaphor of our insane political culture. Maybe that’s because we are in the midst of iconic metaphors—the stuff of Shakespeare, Aristotle, and more recently John Steinbeck.

The Pearl, based on a classic Mexican folk tale, tells the story of Kino, Juana, and their infant son. They are simple people, whose life explodes with a scorpion bite. Poison! Poison leads to a need to pay for a bogus antidote, which leads to the disco
...more
||Swaroop||
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"In the town they tell the story of the great pearl - how it was found and how it was lost again..."

What an amazing piece of literature this was!!

Beautiful words!

John Steinbeck's The Pearl is a simple story of simple people, with many beautiful words.

A must-read!
Carmo
Dec 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Pérola é provavelmente de todos os livros que tenho, o que li mais vezes. É uma história comovente cheia de simbolismo. Desde o inicio da narrativa que se sente a tragédia a pairar sob as personagens. Kino e Juana não têm mais nada na vida além da canoa que utilizam para apanhar ostras. Acalentam a esperança de um dia a sorte lhes sorrir e encontrarem a pérola que lhes permita dar ao filho, Coyotito, uma vida melhor.
E precisamente quando mais precisavam encontraram. Uma pérola enorme, que num
...more
Susana
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(review in English below)

Que maravilha! Steinbeck é um mestre!

Se pudesse, teria lido este livro duma assentada, pois assim o exigia a escrita imperiosa, escravizante, que transformou uma narrativa que podia ser banal numa história arrebatadora, emocionante, que nos inquieta de tal modo que damos por nós a tentar não espreitar a página seguinte para saber o que vai acontecer a seguir, ao mesmo tempo que nos atropela com as sensações dos personagens principais.

Tenho mesmo de ler as obras maiores d
...more
❄️Nani❄️
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
It’s Steinbeck. It was perfect.

Short but oh so impactful.
Luís C.
This book is an allegory of money or, at least, a parable on the theme of physical possession.
All is symbol in this book, the pearl, object coveted by bead researchers, like money, sought by those who do not, are in the center.
The story takes place in Mexican California, near the end of the peninsula. The protagonists are poor (as seems to me at Steinbeck) and one of them will find, so to say, the gem. I'll let you see what can happen to the poor who die of a magical stroke let fly fortune ... T
...more
Cathrine ☯️
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with a sense of adventure
4+★
This short novella (90 pages) brings to mind the biblical parable of The Pearl Of Great Price. Like the parables, the telling juxtaposes contrasting motifs of good and evil and what defines them or makes them so. How sudden wealth can corrupt depending on one’s choices, needs, or morals. Is it better to let things be or risk irreperable change for possible transformation or benefit? The reader has much to ponder throughout the pages which turn beautifully. I could hear the sounds of water, sm
...more
Erin Clemence
Sep 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in high school (doesn’t everyone?) and then recently re-read it, surprising even myself. Initially I had picked it up because it was such a small book, and the 89 pages were just long enough to get me through the day. I normally try and avoid massive literature greats like Steinbeck, as the easy reading I normally do helps me to escape my reality without a huge deal of thought.
Anyway, Steinbeck’s story (for those who don’t know) tells the tale of Kino, his young bride Juana and
...more
Duane
Steinbeck's tragic novella is about a poor pearl diver, Kino, and what happens to him and his family after he finds "the pearl of the world". This great pearl should bring incredible wealth to it's owner, but the ways of the world are not set to benefit Kino which he quickly learns. This book is likable and easy to read, even for people who are not generally fond of Steinbeck's writing, I would think.
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SQHS YLL: The Pearl 9 10 Jun 05, 2018 08:51PM  
Catching up on Cl...: January 2017 - The Pearl 118 215 Apr 30, 2018 09:19AM  
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14,411 followers
John Steinbeck III was an American writer. He wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939 and the novella Of Mice and Men, published in 1937. In all, he wrote twenty-five books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and several collections of short stories.

In 1962 Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Steinbeck grew up in the Salinas Valley
...more
More about John Steinbeck

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“For it is said that humans are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more. And this is said in disparagement, whereas it is one of the greatest talents the species has and one that has made it superior to animals that are satisfied with what they have.” 165 likes
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