The Pearl @

April 10 [Thu], 2014, 3:37
The Pearl - John Steinbeck

In this short book illuminated by a deep understanding and love of humanity. John Steinbeck retells an old Mexican folk tale: the story of the great pearl, how it was found, and how it was lost. For the diver Kino, finding a magnificent pearl means the promise of a better life for his impoverished[貧しい] family. His dream blinds him to the greed[欲] and suspicious[疑心] the pearl arouses[引き起こす] in him and his neighbors, and even his loving wife cannot temper[和らげる] his obsession[執念] or stem[くい止める] the events leading to the tragedy[悲劇].
For Steinbeck, Kino and his wife illustrate the fall from innocence of people who believe that wealth erases all problems.The Pearl is a simple story of simple people, recounted[物語る] with the warmth[温かさ] and sincerity[誠実さ] and unrivaled craftsmanship he brings to his writing. It is tragedy in the great tradition, beautifully conveying[運ぶ] not despair but hope for mankind.
⇒Money, Possessions, Greed

■Background Information■

・John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck was born in California the son of poor parents. Even though he was educated at Stanford University, he never forgot his origins. Growing up in working class towns, he became a good observer of human nature and later wrote about people who lived around―workers including Mexican-American and migrant workers[移住労働者].
He discovered that these people were often treated poorly and without respect and had little means of defending themselves. As a result, many of characters he wrote were isolated, oppressed and looked down. They represent the struggle theme of his novel―struggle between rich and poor, good and bad, weak and strong, and between cultures or civilizations.
⇒Social Oppression
⇒Good vs Evil

・Steinbeck's trip to Mexico
Steinbeck held his trip to Gulf, California, to search marine species that would help him understand life in general. During this trip, he heard about the legend of a Mexican fisher who had found a big pearl that had brought him much misery[苦痛、不幸]. He developed this legend into his story, The Pearl.
⇒Man as a part of nature
→metaphors and comparisons (descriptions about animals which metaphorizes a human nature and the story)

somewhere on the coast of Mexico in the town of La Paz
on a peninsula and separated from other parts of Mexico by the Gulf(the sea)

・Historical Background and Social Culture
@Social Hierarchy
Indians had been under control of Spanish for 300 years. They were kept at the bottom of social structure and not allowed to own land or attend school. Thier ignorance and lack of knowledge made them oppressed.
Although Catholic church had power in Mexico, natives still believed in their old religion.

・Writing Style
The Pearl is the novel or novella which is told in a form of allegory[寓話] or parable[寓話、たとえ話].
In parable,good and evil are clearly defined and everything is black or white. There is no gray side. Obviously, good characters in The Pearl have names and bad ones don't. And because it is a parable, story is supposed to tell lessons or large truth.
The characters and action symbolize certain universal ideas or concepts.

・Point Of View
the omniscient third person narrator
the narrator is observing the story from outside view.

■Theme Topics/ Motifs■
@Money, Possessions, Greed
the quest for money and the desire for things of material world
the idea that money can buy happiness

ASocial Oppression
the oppression of Mexican Indians
against the doctor, the priest, the pearl buyers, and the trackers
Kino and Indians were treated disrespectfully, taken advantage of, and discriminated[差別される] against.

BMan as a part of nature
similarities between humans and other animals through comparisons
Steinbeck uses this to foreshadow human events.

CKino's songs
music that Kino hears often reflects events in the story.
It also creates atmosphere.

DGood vs Evil
darkness/light, black/white, evil/good, dimness/brightness, night/day

EAppearance ve Reality
illusions, visions, dream, mirages, vagueness, ghosty gleams[徴候], haze[靄]
things being seen is not a real thing

■Literary Terms■
- a parable is a story that teaches lessons
・figurative language
・Freytag's Plot Pyramid
- a fiction narrative generally between 20000 and 40000 words
- common in Latin American and European literature, but not in American literature
- Steinbeck uses a novella as a type of the writing in order to reflect Latin American culture

・Tomas(Kino's brother)
・Tomas' wife

・the doctor
・the priest
・the pearl buyer
・the trackers
・the villagers
・also, the pearl(Kino's greed)

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  • アイコン画像 ニックネーム:ふくさん
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