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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Pearl by John Steinbeck-Free Online Plot Summary
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CHAPTER III (continued)

After the priest leaves, Kino still hears the shrill music of evil in his ears. A thin dog wanders by, but as Kino looks down, he fails to see the animal. This is another sign that Kino's eyes are blind to simple, everyday events.

The doctor arrives after dark. Kino is filled with hatred, rage, and fear, but lets the doctor in when the corrupt old man says there might be a delayed reaction to the scorpion sting. In his ignorance, Kino does not know what to do, but he does not want his son to suffer.

To play on the couple's fears, the doctor puts on a grand show. He gives the baby some poisonous white powder and says he will come back in an hour, for he knows the poison will strike by then. When the doctor leaves, Kino buries the pearl in the corner of the hut. Coyotito becomes very sick again, and in an hour the doctor returns.

NOTE:

Before the doctor returns, Steinbeck inserts an important description of the estuary at night. There is the sound of big fish eating little fish, the familiar sound of slaughter-a symbol of the relationship between the Spanish and the Indians, between the rulers and the oppressed.


The doctor has not fooled anyone, even though he gives Coyotito a few drops of ammonia in a cup of water to calm him. The doctor says that because of his knowledge of scorpion poison, Coyotito will now recover. He pretends to be surprised that Kino has found a pearl, but asks questions, hoping that Kino will glance at the place where the pearl is hidden. Kino does this, and the doctor leaves the hut knowing the location of the pearl.

Later that night, Kino and Juana are awakened by an intruder in their hut. Fearing this might happen, Kino had moved the pearl. But he is wounded in the scuffle with the attacker.

For the first time, Juana begs Kino to get rid of the pearl. She feels it is evil and will destroy them. But Kino resists. He is infatuated with dreams of the future and refuses to surrender to outsiders.

NOTE:

The shrewd and conniving doctor is one of the first to prey upon Kino, but he will not be the last. Juana's instincts about the pearl are correct, and Kino's stubbornness will launch him on a path of destruction. Within the scope of the parable, what does Kino's attitude tell you about the quest for money? Whose side do you take in the disagreement between Juana and Kino?

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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Pearl by John Steinbeck-Free Online Plot Summary
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