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The Pearl

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In John Steinbeck's The Pearl, Kino and the doctor's differences complicate Kino getting his son Coyotito treatment for a scorpion sting. When the doctor discovers that Kino is from a much lower social class than he, he refuses treating Coyotito unless Kino can pay the doctor handsomely. The doctor's curtness toward Kino ends when Kino finds a magnificent pearl. Throughout the story, John Steinbeck reveals similarities and differences in Kino and the doctor's appearance, values, and lifestyles.

Kino's way of living is more primitive compared to the doctor's high status living conditions. Kino has enough food and a shelter to keep his family healthy and alive. The doctor is a wealthy man who occasionally gives alms to beggars. Kino lives in a small brush hut while the doctor lives in a plaster and brick house in the upper class part of town. The reader can imply this when Steinbeck writes, "They came to the place where the brush houses stopped and the city of stone and plaster began, the city of harsh outer walls and inner cool gardens where a little water played and the bougainvilleas crusted the walls with purple and red-brick and white." The doctor is also educated and literate, whereas Kino has never learned to read or write. They both have something that the other greatly desires. Kino needs the doctor's medical knowledge to treat Coyotito's scorpion sting. The doctor becomes jealous of Kino's pearl and attempts to manipulate Kino in order to receive a portion of the pearls worth. Kino and the doctor live opposite lives but they cross paths once Kino finds the magnificent pearl.

The things that Kino values greatly in his life are needed for his wellbeing compared to the doctor's wealthy values. The doctor values the wealth generated from his job. He is a selfish man who refuses to use his knowledge of medicine as a gift. He will not help anyone unless he is getting paid the right price. On the other hand, Kino does not have a job like the doctor. Kino and his family are good people and offer their help to others out of

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