The Pearl

by John Steinbeck
90 pages, General Fiction
Reviewed by Freckle

Good, easy read, but some violence and unsure morals.


Kino, like the rest of his people, is a pearl diver. He was out diving. Meanwhile, his wife, Juana, and child, Coyotito, stayed in the boat when he found a very large pearl. Then starts the adventure of trying to sell the pearl and heal the scorpion-bitten Coyotito, and coming face to face with a hard decision.


Alright, though a little twisted with who's good and who's bad. However, evil is shown as evil. Kino senses evil songs coming from evil men that are trying to steal the pearl, and senses good, peaceful songs, like the song of the family. The people buying the pearls are said to be swindlers and cheaters.

Spiritual Content

While watching some ants crawling on their hill, Kino is described as having the "detachment of God." Men are considered half gods. The concept of songs playing a part in the daily functions of the Indians and the idea of a Perfect Song play a large role in the story, and there are references to the Song of the Sea and the Song of the Pearl. There is a Priest - though he seems to be corrupt and just after money - and he does mention God a few times.


A man is stabbed to death, and someone is shot and killed. A woman is struck across the face and kicked. A house is burned down, and the inhabitants were intended to die in the fire - however, they escaped.

Drug and Alcohol Content

None, save for the medicine that the doctor gives to Coyotito for the scorpion sting.

Sexual Content

It is mentioned that Kino and Juana were not officially married by the Priest, but it is because of lack of finances to do so. The marriage is considered legitimate by the people.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

"D*mn" used once, not in its proper context.


This is an interesting book, but with cloudy morals and plot as well as a depressing ending. While the character's conclusion concerning the Pearl is right in the end, it takes a lot of death and sorrow for it to come about.

Fun Score: 4
Values Score: 3
Written for Age: adult

Review Rating:

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