The Pearl Essay Questions with Answers Set 1 - The Pearl Study Guide

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Exam Style Pearl Essays Questions and Answers

Below are essays with answers from The Pearl Set Text. These test questions and answers are the type that are set in the national exams, with ways of how to answer and description.

You can also easily download these essays as pdf to read online whenever you need.

The essays below are mostly in marking scheme format. With points that examiners check.

It should be noted that in an exam situation, essays should be written in prose and not point form as in some of the examples below. In an exam, the "Introduction", "Body" and "Conclusion" titles should not be added in your essays. The examples below just guide on the format that your essays should take.

1. ‘Our lives are controlled by destiny’ Using illustrations from ‘The Pearl’, write an essay to support this statement.

Introduction ( 2mks)

Forces beyond one’s control shape our destiny. What a number of characters go through in the Pearl is pre-determined.
Accept any other relevant introduction.


  • The death of baby Coyotito is pre-determined. However much the family tries to protect and save him, he finally passes on when they are attacked by the attackers.
  • Kino returns the Pearl to the sea. This is after he unsuccessfully tries to sell it. The pearl buyers collude to deny him the opportunity to sell it by setting very low price for it.
  • Failure by Kino to get to the Pearl Buyer or the best price is beyond his control. This is what makes him to finally realize that it is the pearl that is turning him into an animal and a target of thieves that he throws it back to the sea.
  • The stinging of the baby. The scorpion stings the baby irrespective of Kino’s attempt to kill it. This is foreshadowed by the music of Evil in Kino mind and the music of the enemy.


Any valid conclusion summarizing the points

2. “A society driven by greed suffers alot” Using illustrations from “The Pearl” by JohnSteinbeck, write an essay to support the statement.

  • Kino’s greed for wealth after his discovery of the pearl brings out the worst of him when he retreats into a man driven by the desire to guard his treasure even at the expense of life. He Kills to protect his Pearl. Coyotito’s life is lost as he pursues a better life.
  • The doctor is driven by greed and this brings out the nasty inner man he is. He is painted as one of the inheritors of colonial evils - greed topping the list.
  • He is repulsive of Kino on his first Counter but he hears about the discovery of the pearl, he makes a quick turn just to benefit.
  • The pearl buyers all salivate at making a kill when news of Kino’s newly found pearl reaches them. They all strategize to exploit Kino even by dismissing the worth of the pearl.

3. Materialism and greed are inherent nature of human beings. Discuss the statement, basing your arguments on the Pearl.

General or context based

Introduction: It is the nature of human beings to wrongly desire what isn’t theirs. Such is the case in The Pearl as seen through characters such as The Doctor, The Priest, Pearl buyers etc.


  • The Doctor: Wants to take advantage of Coyotito’s sickness to get the Pearl. Upon learning that Kino has found a pearl he visits Kino and yet he had turned him away earlier. He tries to trick Kino into giving him the Pearl. He also observes Kino’s eyes with an intention of knowing where the Pearl could be buried.
  • The Priest: Wants to take advantage of Kino’s and Juana’s marriage. He pays Kino a visit with intentions of getting some of the proceeds of the Pearl. He is keen to remind Kino to give thanks in church, he also wishes to med him and baptize his son. This is because they can now pay for this.
  • Pearl buyers: They conspire on how to deal with Kino who has found “the pearl of the world”. They lie to him about the actual cost of the Pearl. They offer very little when in actual sense it is a very expensive pearl.
  • The trackers: They track Kino and follow him all the way with intentions of forcefully taking the pearl from him. From Juana we learn that they will not spare Kino, his wife and son in their efforts of getting the Pearl.
  • Attackers: They attack Kino on several occasions and injure him. They burn down Kino’s house and destroy his boat- his source of livelihood.


Give opinion or recap the points that have been highlighted.

4. “Greed leads to evil.” Write a composition to show the truth of this statement using illustrations from John Steinbeck’s The Pearl.

Accept a relevant introduction

  • The doctor declines to treat Kino’s child, Coyotito, of the scorpion sting because he has no money (has only small worthless pearls).
  • The pearl buyers are out to take advantage of Kino and his pearl. Their goal is to cheat him and ruin his plans of happiness and peace for his family.
  • The doctor comes to take advantage of Kino’s ignorance by making Coyotito sick and pretending that his illness is the result of the scorpion sting. He pretends as if he does not know of Kino’s pearl, yet the only reason he has come to treat Coyotito was to tr yand seek out where Kino might be hiding it.
  • Kino is attacked several times as the attackers want to rob him of the pearl of the world.
  • The pearl turns Juana and Kino against one another. At the beginning of the story, they are very close but the pearl divides them. Kino attacks and injures his wife when she wants to throw it into the sea.
  • Kino is forced to kill a man to defend himself and the pearl.
  • His hut is burned after someone searching for the pearl has ransacked it.
  • Trackers follow Kino and his family and they have to hide in the mountain.
  • Finally, Kino’s child is shot.

Accept a relevant conclusion.

5. “Appearance can be deceptive” With close reference to the text The Pearl write an essay in support of the statement.

  • Some things happen in our lives and we think they are blessings. The appearance of a person can appear to glitter when in real sense the character is rotten. It is usually a rude shock when we realize that outward appearances can be deceptive. This is shown clearly in JohnSteinbeck’s novel, The Pearl.
  • When Kino find the Pearl of the World, he has great dreams. He believes the pearl would drastically improve his life and that of his family. He hopes to marry Juana in church, buy new clothes, educate his son, replace his lost harpoon and buy himself a rifle. Unfortunately, his dreams are shattered. There are attempts to steal it and his life is threatened several times. He does not sell it at a low price offered by the pearl buyers. Consequently, Juana declares it evil and attempts to throw it back to the sea. Kino follows her and wretches the pearl from her hand and strikes her with his clenched fist and kicks her on the side. He later kills a man, his canoe is vandalized, their brush house is burnt down and they are forced to flee to save their lives. They lose their only child and return home broken only to throw the pearl back to the sea. The glitter in the pearl, finally brings them misfortune and they lose all what they had treasured.
  • The priest stands for the moral authority in La Paz. Kino's dream is to be married in his church. When he says that discrimination is God designed, Kino and Tomas take it as gospel truth. Unfortunately, we find that Kino and Juana are not married in church and Coyotito's is not baptized simply because they cannot pay. When the priest comes to their house he tactfully tells Kino that he is named after a great man and a great Father of the church. He tells them to remember to give thanks to Him who had given them the treasure. As a result his moral fiber becomes questionable since he is motivated by greed and hopes to benefit from Kino's Pearl. This is contrary to the kind of person we expect of him.
  • A doctor's profession is admired by many people. When we meet him, he is sitting up in his high bed, dressed in a gown of red watered silk and he is taking breakfast from a silver tray with a silver chocolate pot and tiny cup of egg-shell China. Among the furnishing of his room are religious pictures and a large tinted photograph of his late wife. We are surprised to learn that he is discontented in life and harbours memories of high life with a mistress in Paris. Moreover, he refuses to treat Coyotito who has been stung by a scorpion because the family cannot afford his medical fee. When he learns that Kino has a valuable pear, he ironically says Kino is a client of his and that he is treating his child for a scorpion sting. His greed and opportunism is evident when he makes the recovering child sick in order to treat him and be paid from the proceeds of the pearl. All the above prove that appearances can be deceptive.
  • The stout pearl buyer's face looks fatherly and benign and his eyes twinkled with friendship. He is a caller of good-mornings, a ceremonious shaker of hands, and a jolly man who knew all jokes. However, his deception is revealed when Kino entered his office to sell the pearl. His eyes become as steady and cruel and unwinding as a hawk's eyes while the rest of his face smiled in greeting. He cheats that he is going to value and give Kino the best price. After examining the pearl, he puts on a sad and contemptuous smile and declares it a fool's gold and a curiosity only suitable for a museum. He even invites other dealers to support his opinion. His presence is revealed when he, together with other dealers panic when Kino refuses to sell the pearl to him. He further offers to give one thousand five hundred pesos. This proves that his appearance is deceptive.


6. Greed for worldly possessions can lead to in controllable madness. Using Kino, draw illustrations from John Steinbeck’s The Pearl.


  • Kino's determination to fight poverty and guarantee a future of comfort and security is rewarded with a rare find of the greatest pearl in the world. However, such determination is marked with a mad obsession that blocks him from being reasonable (Sober)
  • A thief gets into his house and attempts to steal the pearl from where he buried it. Kino fights the thief off with a knife. He however receives a blow on his head and Juana has to nurse him.
  • Her plea for Kino to throw the pearl "This pearl is like sin! It will destroy us"is met with a stubborn resolve to keep it.
  • When Kino steps out of his brush house, Juana hears a little rush, a grunting struggle and a blow. In terror, she comes out with a stone from the fire place only to find Kino on the ground struggling to rise. He had been attacked by a thief in need of the pearl. She entreats him to do away with the pearl: Let us throw it back in the sea where It belongs Kino, it is evil, it is evil! Kino is determined to defend and protect it at all costs.
  • At cock-crow, Kino senses his wife moving quietly to the fireplace and takes the pearl intending to throw it into the sea. He follows her, wrenches the pearl out of her hands and strikes her in the face with his clenched fist. She falls among the boulders and he kicks her in the side. He becomes violent and half insane.
  • As he moves away from his wife, Kino is attacked and his attackers ransack him. Luckily, the pearl drops from his hand and falls near a stone. He kills a man with his knife. Kino and his family attempt to flee from their village, but to his dismay, his canoe has a hole in it. He was an animal now, for hiding for attacking
  • Kino is not ready to take advice from Juan Tomas or Juana, his wife and get rid of the pearl. He says the pearl has become his soul. "If I give it up I shall lose my soul."
  • Kino readily counters any threats to himself and his family. He ceases to be human and becomes an animal. Kino kills the three trackers in a moment of sheer madness. "...the big knife swung free in his right hand."

7. The Pearl potrays humans as beings inherently greedy. Show the validity of this statement with reference to The Pearl.

Sample introduction

Greed is evident throughout the text as exhibited from the actions of various characters in the text. Kino, a pearl fisherman finds superb pearl. News of this great discovery spread to admiration and greed for the pearl in equal measure.

Points to consider

  • The priest on hearing about the finding of the pearl starts to think of the need for church repairs. He wonders whether Kino and Juana have been properly married (in church and whether Coyotito has been baptized. As a result, he makes a trip to Kon's village driven by greed to lay his hand on the newly found fortune. His was an indirect approach.
  • After Kino finds the pearl, the doctor, who had a first refused to treat Coyotito, takes upon himself to deliver the medicine to 'cure'Coyotito. He injects Coyotito with a drug to ensure he is sick so as to later 'cure' him. While in the homestead, his darting eyes are focused on kino to get a clue on where the pearl might be hidden. This shows his greedy nature.
  • The pearl buyers had opened different offices in town with a sole aim of exploiting the pearl fishermen. They had collaborated with an aim of buying the pearl at the cheapest price and when Kino fails to fall for their trap they dismiss his pearl of being of poor quality. This portrays their greed.
  • The pearl exposes Kino's family to so much danger. There are a number of attempts to end his life. Those responsible were driven by greed. they wanted to own the pearl due to its fortune. At the same time, Kino killed in self defense. His hut is burnt down and his boat is knocked. All this shows the greedy nature of the thieves who want to own the pearl.
  • Greed is also noted among the beggars who pinched camp outside the church. They also hope to benefit from pearl for they know there is no alms giver like a poor man who suddenly becomes rich. They believe that when Kino sells the pearl they will benefit.
  • The villagers followed every detail concerning Kino's pearl through Kino's brother Juan Toma. This shows some element of greed. Conclusion It is evident that greed for material wealth is inherent even in some cases where individual effort has not been raised.

8. Using the Pearl by John Steinbeck, write an essay to support the proverb," All that Glitters is not gold"

Introduction (2 mks)

As the proverb state all that glitters is not gold, we can agree with this proverb as in "The Pearl" we see that Kino gets a great pearl that can provide a better life for him and his family, however, it is through the same pearl that Kino loses everything.

Body (12 mks) For points of interpretation (4 x 3 = 12 mks)

  • Kino loses his canoe. After killing a man who has attempted to steal the pearl, Kino intend to escape with the family. He finds that the canoe had been destroyed by being punctured with a hole. The boat is a pined possession to Kino and his people Pg 87. This was an evil beyond thinking. The Killing of a man was not so evil as the killing of a boat, for a boat does not have soul, and a boat cannot protect itself, and a wounded boat does not heal. Kino felt sorrow in his rage. Pg 32. Kino's canoe was the one thing of value he owned in the world. The canoe had been handed down from his grandfather to the father and family to Kino. It was at one property and source of food for a man with a boat could guarantee a woman that she will eat something. It is the bull work against starvation.
  • Coyotito dies. In Kino's struggle with the trackeses who were out to get the pearl, Coyotito is killed. The trackers catch up with Kino as he is on his way to sell the pearl in the capital pg 114. One of the trackers shoots Coyotito thinking that it is a Coyotea after he hears Coyotito's cry and thinks that it is the one of a Coyoto.
  • Coyotito is Kino's only child and Kino loves him a lot. He goes for pearl fishing so that he can get a pearl when he can use to pay the doctor to cure him of a scorpion lot. When he gets the pearl, he intends to take Coyotito to speed and to buy his new clothes (pg 45). At the end Kino loses the very person he intends to provide a better life for.
  • Kino loses his home. Kino's brush house is burnt by one of the attackers and they end up fining shelter at Juan. Thomas and Apolonia's home. Pg 88. He save a little glove of him, and then without internal a tall flame leaped up in the dork with a cracking roar, a tall edifice of fire lighted the pathway. Kino broke into a run; it was his brush house, he knew it.
  • Kino loses his dignity. When Kino finds the "pearl of the World" all manner of people became interested in the pearl. He is attended by different dark figures who want the pearl and he ends up killing a man and the attackers pg 58, Kino held his breath to listen and he knew that whatever dark thing was in his house holding its breath too.... And then he sprang like an angry at. Leaped striking and sporting, for the dark thing he knew was in the corner of his house .... And he raised the blade and looked at it and saw a little line of blood on the steel Pg 84. He heard the rush, got his knife out and lunged at one dark figure and he felt his knife go home...... ..... not in an instant, Juma knew that the old life was gone forever. A dead man in the path and Kino's knife, dark-bladed beside him.
  • He also kills the trackers pg 115. By tying to defend and pulled the pearl he ends up killing all these people

9. A person’s character can at times lead to their downfall’. Drawing examples from Kino’s life, write an essay to justify this statement.(20marks)


  1. The students must use adjectives of behaviour in the body.
  2. Must begin with on introduction written in a separate paragraph, followed by the body which should have atleast four separate paragraphs. Each paragraph should have a negative character trait identified, illustration showing how that character is manifested and how it leads to the character's downfall.
  3. The students should only focus on kino as a character and not any other character
  4. For the conclusion, let the learner give a summary and a remedial statement in the same paragraph (concluding paragraph) to get the (2marks). If only one is given then give (1 mark)

Examples of introduction

  • In life, many people get into trouble just because of some of their characters. This is also well illustrated in John Steinbecks novel. The pearl, in which he presents to us a character Kino who falls into many challenges just because of his mannerism.
  • Kino is vengeful / racist/temperamental As the procession taking Coyotito to the doctor get to his gate, Kino hesitates for a moment. This doctor is not of his people.' He was of a race which for nearly four hundred years had beaten and starved and robbed and despised Kino's race. Kino is filled with fear and anger due to the prejudice that the doctor's race had towards his race. Due to his racists and vengeful nature, he crushes the doctors gate with his fist only to injure his knuckles to an extend that they bleed. (This applies to all of the three points)
  • Kino is a racist - When Kino sees the doctor at his doorway after getting the great pearl, he is raged with hatred and fear for hundreds of years of subjugation were cut deep in him. He hates the doctor's race for having oppressed his race for a long time. This now makes him suffer fear and apprehension.
  • Kino's materialistic nature make him not sell the pearl. When he goes to sell the pearl, he turns down the pearl buyers' offer of 1000 pesos, yet the neighbours knew that it was only yesterday that he had nothing. Another dealer offers 500 pesos to him and he snatches him the pearl and wraps it in a deerskin and thrust it inside his shirt. Even when the first dealer says that he can now offer fifteen hundred pesos, Kino goes away with the pearl pushing his way through the crowd.
  • Kino's defiant / insensitive nature lead to the loss of their only son Juana warns him that the pearl is evil and they should destroy it before it destroys them to which he refuses. He says he will win over it because he is a man. She even tells him a man can be killed and he insists he is a man. At the end he aims and fires between the frantic frightened eyes only to kill his son. He had even earliest on confessed to Juam Tomas that it is his misfortune but he will keep it.
  • Kino's brutal nature make him kill a man which agitates the neighbours forcing them to destroy his canoe and burn his house. When she follows Juana at night when she goes to throw the pearl back into the sea he beats her and she later on sees a stranger with dark shiny fluid leaking from his throat. She knows it is a dead man killed by Kino's knife which lay beside him. He confesses to her that he killed to save his life. They plan to escape only to get his boat with a splintered hole broken in it. His house is also set of fire forcing him to seek refuge at his brother's place.

NB- Mark any other relevant point that is well identified, illustrated and explained.

10. Easy come easy go. Write a composition to show the truth of this statement using illustrations from JohnSteinbeck’s The Pearl.


The things we get easily in life do not last most of the time. It is however the case that the things we strive to get are a blessing to us. This case is clearly brought out through some of the characters in John Steinbeck's text The Pearl.


  • Following the sickness of Coyotito, Kino and wife set out to try their luck in getting a means of getting payment for his treatment. Juana remains hopeful that the husband will get a pearl by which they can get Coyotito treated. This does not take long as Kino gets a pearl of the world.
  • Kino and the wife get moved by this discovery and hope that it will transform their lives. The villagers also hope to benefit from it. It however does not take long before Kino starts experiencing attacks at night. Attempts by Kino to have a good sale from the Pearl do not bear fruits as the pearl buyers can only offer one thousand pesos.
  • His attempts to move on and sell it elsewhere turns out tragic as he is followed by trackers. The result of a confrontation with them is the death of Coyotito. After realizing that the pearl does not give him peace, Kino follows the wife's advice and throws the pearl back to the sea. With this, the pearl does not improve Kino's life in any way, it only disrupts it.


It is true that things people have not struggled enough for may not be of much benefit.

11. In what ways does Kino defy the patterns of life in the town and how does this change him

Kino begins the novel poor and unable to think beyond the confines of his native fishing village. After discovering of the pearl, however, Kino begins to dream of possibilities for his family, most notably an education for his son, that were previously unthinkable. He sees these dreams materialize when he looks into the pearl's surface. Because he cannot simply ignore these dreams he embarks upon a course of action which eventually makes him a fugitive from his own village and a killer of men several times over. The people of the town did not trust their eyes due to the effects of the Gulf mist, yet Kino believes the things he first sees in the pearl and is deceived. The image of his son receiving an education is replaced by an image of the boy's dead body; similarly, the image of Kino and Juana being married in the church is replaced by an image of her bruised and swollen face after he has beaten her. When he returns to the village, defeated by the death of his son, he first offers Juana the chance to throw the pearl into the sea. This indicates that he has learned to appreciate her judgement and is, in a sense, yielding to her. That she insists that he be the one to throw the pearl into the sea indicates that she remains faithful to their previous way of life and, as she has always done, seeks to preserve it.

12. Throughout the story Kino and Juana are attuned to ancient songs that warn them of evil or nurture their sense of family. In what way do these songs serve as rhetorical devices to further the parable?

The use of the songs allows Steinbeck to emphasize Kino and Juana's essential innocence and connection with the natural world and also allows the author to sharply delineate between those things in the story which are to be read as "evil" and those that are understood to be "good". Thus, the Priest is accompanied by the song of evil and the reader knows, without being told in so many words, not to take his statements at face value. The stone that Juana uses to grind the corn, although a facet of her family's poverty, is accompanied by the song of the family and the reader is led to infer that in these simple things does the strength of goodness reside for Kino and his people.

13. The narrator says that to Juana men were "half-gods and half insane" and that she believed women capable of saving men at times through the woman's natural qualities of "reason, caution and sense of preservation." How are these gender roles vital to the story?

Kino believes he can capitalize on the wealth of the pearl because as a man in his native society he has always been the decision-maker and source of physical strength that has provided for its survival. Though he is initially frightened to go to the city he decides that he must make the journey in order that his family will not merely survive but prosper. Juana knows that because Kino is a man he will "drive his strength against a mountain" but "in her woman's soul" she knows that "the mountain would stand while the man broke himself." For this reason she attempts to dissuade Kino. In order for her way of life to continue, however, she must yield to his decisions until he can understand the pearl's evil himself.

14. What characters in the novel are portrayed as overtly good or evil? What characters are portrayed as ambiguous?

Of all the characters in the novel that of the Doctor is rendered most starkly evil and that of Juana is rendered most steadfastly good. The scene in which the Doctor dupes Juana by simply re-poisoning Coyotito and then pretends to cure him makes the Doctor seem all the more duplicitous and she all the more innocent. Ambiguous characters include the pearl buyers who, though they seek to purchase the pearls at the lowest price, are simply acting in accordance with the dictates of their profession and the trackers who doggedly pursue Kino and his family into the wilderness who, like the pearl buyers are not inherently good or bad but merely performing their duty to the best of their ability.

15. In what ways is The Pearl a political novel?

The Pearl is the story of a poor indian whose people have been subjugated for over four hundred years. While the descendents of the Europeans live in stone houses, surrounded by walls, Kino and his people live in grass shacks with earth floors. Kino's struggle to better the lot of his family and his eventual failure can be read as a condemnation of the economic system which prevents Kino from realizing the value of the great pearl. Significantly, Kino's most cherished dream is that his son might receive an education and free his people from the cycle of poverty and ignorance. Coyotito's death, however, destroys Kino's family and serves as a painful reminder that the injustices, which his people have always suffered, will not be overturned by the actions of an individual. The horror of Kino's failure reminds the reader of the need for reform and aid in societies where such action cannot be successfully implemented by the dispossessed.

16. Despair and misery are brought about by racism. Referring closely to John Steinbeck’s, The Pearl, write an essay to support this statement.


  • Racial prejudice practiced in many parts of the globe now and in the past has had negative impact on the victims. This is manifested in deprivation, subjugation or any other evils. This is true of the indigenous Mexicans, Kino’s race who have suffered in the hands of Spanish people for generation.
    1. Baptism of Coyotito
      • The priest is an agent of the racist colonial masters.
      • He has not baptized Coyotito because Kino does not have money – the colonial masters have ensured the indigenous remain in poverty.
      • The Priest, a white, remembers this only when he realizes Kino can now afford the cost when he gets the Pearl of the world. He considers Kino’s race children and treated them so. This is evident as the indigenous hold the Priest in awe as he comes to Kino’s house
        pg 47
    2. Marriage in Church
      • Kino has also failed to solemnize his marriage in Church. He has longed for this but he did not have the money to give the racist Priest.
      • When Kino gets the Pearl of the world, his immediate wish is to used. Again, that is the time the racist Priest reminds him about marrying in Church.
    3.  The Scorpion Sting
      • Racial Prejudice is manifest when Coyotito is sting by scorpion.
      • The neighbours and even Kino believe that the doctor cannot come to the brush houses when Kino and neighbours take the child to the doctor, he makes racist remarks saying he is a doctor not a veterinary. He became angry.
      • He refuses to treat Coyotito because Kino cannot pay. ‘Have I nothing better to do than cure insect bites for little Indians’ pg 28
      •  In the end Kino is left alone standing at the doctor’s gate in shame as the servant says the doctor has gone out yet he is in pg 28.
    4. Education
      • The racist Colonists have left the indigenous in ignorance. They don’t have access to good education. That is why Kino insists that Coyotito must go to school and in good uniform pg 45 – 46. The neighbours think this is impossible.
      • Kino want the child to go to School so that he can acquire the knowledge so that the Parent’s ignorance can be driven away since their son knows – “he will know and through him we shall know” pg 46
    5. Deprivation
      • There’s contrast between the life of the indigenous who have been kept in poverty and the whites.
      • Kino’s race mainly live in brush house in clusters. This contrasts sharply with the city of stone and plaster with well fenced beautiful homes like the doctor’s.
      • Even the meals Kino take of corncake and pulque contrasts to the doctors sweat cake.
      • They are encouraged by the racist Priest to maintain the status que on pg 68
      • “………. but each one must remain faithful to his post and must not go running about else the castle is in danger from the assaults of Hell”.
    6. Exploitation
      • The indigenous Mexicans are exploited. They are Pearl fishers but they offered very poor prices for their valuable gems.
      • “ The Pearls had raised the King of Spain to be a great power in Europe in past years, had helped to pay for his wars, and had decorated the Churches for his souls sake” pg 34
      • Despite this the fishermen are paid peanuts as seen in Kino’s experience with his great Pearl.
      • We are told a man once offered the Pearls to the Church instead of taking very low price.
      • The Priest also encourages the status quo so that getting better money is against religion
    7. Subjugation/Cruelty
      • The indigenous were treated with cruelty.
      • Kino hated the doctor’s race. The doctor was from a race which nearly for four hundred years had beaten and stowed and robbed and despised Kino’s race pg 26
      • The doctors race talked to Kino’s race as if they were simple animals pg 26
        Expect any 4 well illustrated points mark
        3: 3: 3: 3 12 marks
        Relevant Conclusion 2 marks
        Grammar and Presentation 4marks
        20 marks

17. Most people equate fortune to happiness which is not the case. Justify the truth of this statement drawing illustrations from the pearl by John Steinbeck.

  • It brings about physical injury to Kino as he attempts to fight off his enemies.
  • Murder – Kino kills four men to save the pearl
  • Violence – He hits his wife
  • Loss of property – His boat is destroyed and his house burnt down
  • Family conflict and turbulence in the once calm home.
  • Loss of their child Coyotito
    (any other valid points)

More questions

  • Discuss the various animal imagery that functions throughout the novel: the ants, the scorpion, the hissing snakes, the schools of fish, the oysters, the dogs, and the pearl buyers as octopuses, etc.
  • Describe in detail Kino and Juana's simple life before and after the discovery of the pearl.
  • How does Steinbeck characterize the doctor? How does he let the reader know that the white powder which the doctor administers to Coyotito is actually a poison which would kill the baby if the doctor did not return?
  • How does the priest function as a travesty of religion?
  • Why are the pearl buyers referred to as "fatherly" and "benevolent"? How does this contradict their real purposes? Are they also victimized?
  • Why are the "dark ones" and the trackers never identified? What is gained by Steinbeck's not identifying them?
  • A symbol can change its meaning during the course of a novel. How does the pearl change its meaning during the course of this novel?
  • Kino believes that it would be better to kill a person than to kill a canoe because a canoe has no relatives to revenge it. What types of values are operative in such a statement?
  • Kino and Juana function more or less on a primitive level in their lives and in their religion, yet they both want a church wedding and a christening for Coyotito. How are these values consistent with their lives? How are they contradictory?
  • What is the function of the many songs that Kino hears during the course of the novel?
  • “Racism is a tool used to exploit others.” Drawing illustrations from John Steinbeck’s The Pearl, show the truth of this statement.
  • Kino's greatest dream upon selling the Pearl is that Coyotito gets education. With evidence from John Steinbeck's 'The Pearl', explain why Kino holds the dream of education so dearly.

18. ‘Appearances and Characters can be deceptive’. Write an essay to validate the statement basing you argument on John Steinbeck’s: ‘The Pearl’.

Things are not always as they seem . The outward appearance of someone or something may conceal their true nature or intensions. When Kino finds a beautifull pearl he hopes to sell it and improve his family’s life but instead his life is ruined further.( Accept any other valid


  1. Priest
    First, we do not expect the priest to join in the group people trying to exploit Kino for his wealth . The priest should represent virtues but ironically when he hears of Kino’s pearl while walking in the garden he immediately thinks of the necessary repairs in the church. He also thinks about the worth of the pearl .He can not remember whether he married Kino in church or whether he baptized their son Coyotito. His visiting Kino is something he hardly does. He claims that Kino is named after a great father of the church. He also reminds him to give thanks for his newly found wealth. It is disturbing that a clergy man would try to take advantage of Kino.
  2. Doctor
    When the doctor gets the news of Kino’s pearl, he claims that Kino is his client and that he is treating his child Coyotito of a scorpion bite. He goes to Kino’s brush house in pretence of wanting to treat the scorpion bite. However, his main mortive is to find out more about the pearl. He warns Kino of the effects of the bite and how serious it can be for the child. He give the child a capsule which makes Coyotito very sick. He later ‘cures’ him with 3 drops of ammonia. He asks Kino when he will pay the bill hoping to the pearl as payment. He tries to convince Kino to reveal where he had hidden the pearl and even offers to keep it safely for him. If the doctor was really genuine he would have treated Coyotito the first time Kino and Juana had visited him desperately seeking his services.
  3. Pearl Buyers
    It appears like there are many pearl buyers when in the real sense there is only one. He keeps many agents in several offices to create an illusion of competition. When Kino finds the pearl he decides to sell it to improve his living condition. One of the dealers, the man behind the desk appears fatherly. He knows all the jokes however, he is part of a conspiracy to cheat Kino out the true value of his pearl. After examining the pearl , he offers 1000 Pesos but Kino wants 50,000 Pesos.The other buyers play the same game , they pretend to be disinterested . One offers 500 Pesos claiming he could sell it for 600 Pesos. They are shocked when Kino refuses to sell his pearl. The fatherly man quickly improves his deal 1500 Pesos but in vain. It appears they are trying to offer Kino best price but in reality they are trying their best to exploit Kino.
  4. The Pearl
    Lastly , the appearance of the pearl itself is deceptive. It appears beautifull but underneath the beauty is evil and destruction. It’s curve is perfect , it is as big as a seagull’s egg. When Kino finds it he concludes that it is the end of his poor life but he was very mistaken. He hopes to marry Juana in church, buy a riffle, a harpoon , take Coyotito to school and even buy new clothes and shoes. Non of his plans materialize. Juana nad Juan Thomas warn Kino that the pearlis evil but Kino ignores them. He beats Juana when she tries to throw the pearl into the sea. His canoe is destroyed and his hut is burnt and to top it all his son Coyotito is killed by a stray bullet while Kino runs away to the mountains. Eventually Kino realizes the evil nature of the pearl and throws it away into the ocean.

In summary, it is true to say that for sure appearances can be deceptive as illustrated above.
( Allow any other valid conclusion)
Award 2:3:3:3:3+ 4mks language.

19. Drawing examples from John Steinbeck’s, The Pearl, write an essay to illustrate the saying, ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed.’

Many of us have numerous friends including our immediate family members who happen to be our immediate friends. / However, a true friend is that person who stands by you or always on your side in trying moments/ They will stick by you in moments of happiness or pain. Juana and Juan Thomas in The Pearl prove valuable friends of Kino when misfortunes strike him./ Any other valid introduction

  1. Scorpion
    Juana stands with Kino when the baby is stung.When Coyotito is stung by a scorpion, Kino has no idea what to do. The family is poor thus cannot raise money to seek medication. They cannot see the doctor who is a racist. To save Coyotito’s life, Juana suggests that they see the doctor whether with cash or not. She also offers first aid by sucking poison out of Coyotito’s shoulder. She also finds some seaweed and made a fat poultice of it and applies to the baby’s swollen shoulder. The pain subsides. There are no stomach cramps. She also prayed that her husband finds the pearl so that they can afford medication. Indeed Kino finds the greatest pearl of the world.
  2. Attacks
    When increased attacks, Juana advises Kino to either destroy the pearl or sell it as the family was in great danger, When Kino refuses, she opts to throw it back into the sea. Although she does not succeed since Kino waylay her, it sends a strong message that she is tired and she values their lives and anything that puts their lives on line must be destroyed. When she finally lays her hands on the pearl she doesn’t throw it into the sea she feels this would hurt her husband more. She helps him on his feet, wipes blood and dresses the wounds.
    3. Pearl buyers
    When Kino opts to sell the pearl to the capital, Juan Thomas warns him to be cautious of the pearl dealers as they are likely to exploit him. He was not privy to the price of the pearl thus he would have used agents to sell the pearl. Kino does not listen to wise counsel from his brother. He is intimidated, humiliated and regrets why he went to the town. Truth downs on him that enemies are all over. Juan is not through with him, he still warns Kino that he has exposed himself to the enemies thus he must move with speed to dispose off the pearl.
  3. Killing
    When Kino kills a man, his house and boat is destroyed. He is a marked man. His enemies are baying for his blood and he can only save his life by escaping. It is Juan Thomas who hides him in his house and lies to the villagers that Kino’s family has escaped; probably perished into the sea. He tells them Kino has gone to the south along the coast. Before they escape, he gives Kino, a bag of beans, a gourd of rice, a cup of dried pepper, a block of salt and a knife for self-defence. Juan again, advises Kino to avoid the shore and wishes him well.
  4. Flight
    Juana sticks by Kino as they flee. She adamantly refuses to leave him as as he suggests urguing that they stick together. He draws his strength from her resolve.

Juana and Juan Thomas demonstrate the real meaning of friendship. Were it not for their timely intervention, Kino’s family would have perished whole.

20. “Money and desire can change an individual.” Basing your illustrations on John Steinbeck, The Pearl, write a composition to back up this statement. (20 mks)

In The Pearl Kino is poor but happy but when he finds a great fortune he becomes obsessed with being rich and this makes him sad, suspicious and irrational. This is because greed for wealth can change a person.

Before Kino finds the pearl he is a caring, protective father and husband. He seems contended and happy despite living in poverty. He is satisfied with the simple lifestyle and the little they posses. When he finds the pearl, he has great dreams for his family. He hopes to marry his wife in church. He hopes to buy her new clothes including a new shawl, new skin and new shoes. When someone tries to steal the pearl and Kino is hurt trying to protect it, Juana suggests that they get rid of it. Kino is adamant. He is blinded by desire for money. When she tries to throw it away, he strikes he badly. Excessive desire turns Kino into an abusive husband that he was not at first.
Desire for money turns Kino into a heartless murderous man. Kino lives the simple life of a fisherman like the other natives of La Paz. When he finds the great pearl, he turns into “an animal”. He fights and kills a man on the path that tries to steal his pearl. Having grown tired of Kino’s inaction, Juana decides to go and throw the pearl back into the sea. Kino catches her and strikes her with a clenched fist and kicks her on the side. On his way back to the hut, he fights and kills a man forcing them to flee from their home. His obsession with changing their simple lifestyle and acquiring material possession dehumanizes him.

The excessive ambition for riches makes Kino irrational. Kino seems like a wise family man. He provides for his family through fishing and pearl diving. He loves and protects his young family. When he finds the great pearl, he hopes to take his son Coyotito to school so that he frees them from the bondage of ignorance. His preoccupation with this desire blinds him. He fails to see the danger such an ambition puts his family into. While fleeing to the north, he is pursued by three trackers, two on foot and one on a horse with a rifle. His son is eventually killed even when he manages to kill the three men. Had Kino been wise enough he would have gotten rid of the pearl as soon as he saw the red flags. He is blinded by wild desire for wealth.
Lastly, the doctor changes his mind about treating Coyotito because of his desires. When Coyotito is stung by a scorpion, the doctor refuses to treat the child. He has no time to treat “little Indians” for insect bites because they never have any money. He sends them away claiming he was out attending to a serious case.

Any relevant conclusion.

21. “When an individual fails to heed to the wise counsel, he/she ends up suffering .”justify this statement using The Pearl by John Steinbeck

The Pearl, John Steinbeck


–can be specific
-can be general


  • After the visit of the doctor, Kino is attacked at night. He gets his knife and strikes but misses. He injures his forehead. Juana offers first aid and then advises him. He tells him that the pearl is evil, its like a sin, they should throw it away or break it between stones. They should bury it and forget about it. They should throw it back into the sea. It will destroy them but he does not listen. He says its their only chance, his son must go to school. As a result he is attacked a second time and is serious (pg 58-60, 74-78) after he has failed to sell the pearl. Juana the decides to throw the Pearl back into the sea. He is attacked again, he kills a man and is banished.
  • Kino is advised by Juan Thomas three times but he refuses to listen to him. He tells him :-to be careful on the handling of the pearl. So that they do not cheat him but he says he has heard stories about the selling of the Pearl and he knows ( pg 67-68)
  • He also warns him against against going to the city since it is a strange place. In lapaz he has him and his friends to assist him. When he leaves lapaz he loses his son
  • He advises him to be careful on his way. He even gives him a weapon and food for the journey but he attacks the trackers who kill his son .
  • On their way to mountain, Juana struggles to make Kino see that the Pearl may not really be worth the trouble. She tells him not to fight the trackers but he does not listen(pg 98) and Juana said, “perhaps the dealers were right and the pearl has no value.”
    He answers “…….No……they would not have tried to steal it if it had been valueless. In the end the son dies.
  • Juana ignores Kinos advise when they are sheltering under the boulder and they see the trackers approaching. He tells her that they separate but she refuses eventually the son is killed.
  • Juana is instructed by Kino not to come out of the care and keep the child quiet. Instead she moves to the entrance of the cave and exposes the baby. Coyotito cries and the trackers think is a coyote. He is shot and this leads to the loss of the baby. (pg109,112,114)
  • The dealers advise Kino to 1500 pesos but Kino thinks its too little. According to the neighbours 1000 pesos was not to be thrown away. This is the kind of money he had never handled before. They thought he was a pig headed fool for not accepting it. He then decides to go to the capital to sell it for more money. He later loses his son then proceeds to throw the pearl back into the sea. (pg118)
    (accept any other relevant point)
    Marks 3:3:3:3 (12mks)


  • It can be general or specific (2mrks)
  • Grammar and organisaton 4mks


It is sometimes prudent to listen to counsel by those close to us lest we are subjected to misery/pain. Kino after finding the greatest Pearl in the world, changes his attitude. Juana and Juan Toma’s try to caution him to no avail. He ends up a frustrated soul.

Points of Interpretation

  • Juan Toma’s advices Kino against going to the city to sell the Pearl because it is strange place. Kino turns a deaf hear to the advice, he subjects himself and his family to insecurity as they struggle to escape the trackers who ultimately kill his only son – Coyotito: pp 76, 77, 78.
  • Juana advices her husband to throw away the Pearl because it was evil and it would destroy them. When he refuses to listen, he is attacked; his house is burnt down; his canoe is broken.
  • Juana ignores the advice from Kino that they should separate and that he would lead the attackers on and if he managed to lose them, they should go to Lareto where they would reunite on.
    Juana turns down the advice. As a result, this leads to the death of Coyotito.
  • Kino ignores the advice from Juana Toma’s to sell the Pearl and therefore pass the evil to someone else. He refuses claiming it had become his soul. He ends up exposing himself to danger from the attackers/trackers and jeopardizing his nascent family.
    3:3:3:3: = (12 marks)
    Any other relevant point of interpretation

In conclusion, it is good to listen to advice given to us by those close to us lest we end up frustrated.
(Accept any other relevant conclusion = 2 marks)
Grammar and presentation = 4 marks

 22. Good fortune does not necessarily guarantee happiness. Elucidate the truth of this statement drawing illustrations from the Pearl by John Steinbeck. (20 marks)

Kino expects the pearl to bring him happiness but this is not the case. Instead the pearl becomes a nightmare (Any other relevant introduction) 2 mks

  • It brings about physical injury to Kino as he attempts to fight off his enemies.
  • Murder – Kino kills four men to save the pearl
  • Violence – He hits his wife
  • Loss of property – His boat is destroyed and his house burnt down
  • Family conflict and turbulence in the once calm home.
  • Loss of their child Coyotito (any other valid points)
    In conclusion, it is true to say that finding a fortune does not necessarily guarantee happiness to an individual (Any other relevant conclusion) 

23. Juana is the pillar of strength for her family. Show the validity of this statement using illustrations from The Pearl by John Steinbeck.

The killing of a man

  • Juana helps Kino after he kills a man.
    After kino beats Juana and leaves her lying among the boulders, Kino walks up the beach through the brush line, he hears the rush, gets his knife lungs at the dark figure and feels his knife go home. He’s swept to his knees and swept again to the ground. The pearl is knocked from his hand. Juana drags herself up and climbs painfully to her feet, she goes creeping up the beach after Kino . She sees two dark figures lying in the path ahead of her. Juana leaps forward and saw Kino lying on the ground with another stranger with a dark shiny fluid leaking from his throat. Juana instantly knew that the old life was gone forever, a dead man in the path and Kino’s knife, dark-bladed beside him, convinced her. She quickly drags the dead man from the pathway into the shelter of the brush. She goes to Kino and sponges his face with her wet skirt. His senses come back and he moans. Kino cries that they have taken the pearl, he has lost it and the pearl is gone. Juana quietens him as she would quiet a sick child telling him that she has the pearl for she found it in the path. She tells him that he has killed a man and they must go away. Kino defends himself that he struck to save his life. Juana tells him that that will not matter and that the people in the city will not understand / his explanation will not help. Kino draws a great breadth, fights off his weakness and says Juana is right. With his will hardened he is a man again.
  • On the journey to the mountains
    Juana encourages kino when he is in despair. On the journey to the mountain the trackers came near kino and his family. They stopped at the swept place where Kino and Juana had veered off the road and studied. They move on and kino knows they would be back sooner or later to his covered tracks, he slides backwards and does not bother to cover his tracks for there were too many signs, too many broken twigs and displaced stones. There was panic in Kino now, a panic of flight for the trackers would find his trail. And there was no escape except in flight. A helplessness and a hopelessness swept over him and his face went black and his eyes were sad. He tells Juana that maybe he should let them(the trackers) take him. Juana reminds Kino that he has the pearl and they would take it and would not leave him alive. Further says they would come for her and their little one and would not let them live. Her goading strikes into his brain and his lip snarled and his eyes are fierce again. Kino tell Juana that they will go into the mountains and may be lose the trackers there.
  • Juana refuses to separate with Kino on their journey to the mountain acting as a source of strength to him.
    Kino takes note of Juana’s bruised ankles and suggests that he goes on while Juana hides. Kino says that he will lead the trackers into the mountains and when they have gone past Juana will go north to Loreto or Santa Rosalia. If he escapes them he will come back to her and that it was the only safe way. Juana refuses resolutely saying that she will go with him. Kino insists that he will go faster alone and argues that Juana will put the little one in more danger if she goes with kino. Juana adamantly refuses even after kino tells her that she must for it is the wise thing and it is his wish. Kino looks then for weakness in her face, for fear or irresolution and there is none. Kino shrugs his shoulders helplessly then, but he had taken strength from her. When they move on it is no longer a panic flight.

In conclusion, it is evident that Juana is an anchor to her family / backbone for the family/ offers solace in times of distress.

24. “Family members always want the best for us”. Write an essay to validate this claim basing your illustrations from John Steinbeck’s The Pearl.

In the face of diversity, our relations are always there for us. For instance, Juana Kino’s wife does everything in her power to protect her husband Kino and child Coyotito. She risks her life by sucking the scorpion’s poison out of the child’s shoulder for she cares for her son Coyotito.
Accept any other introduction 2marks

Points of Interpretation

  • Mother
    First, Juana cares for her son Coyotito. When he is stung by a scorpion, she does everything within her means to save his life. First, she sucks the poison out and spits and sucks again. She suggests that they go to see the doctor. She also sticks with Kino when he was pearl fishing and prays that they find a pearl with which they can hire the doctor to treat their son Coyotito. Meanwhile she gathers brown seaweed and makes flat damp poultice which she uses as a remedy for Coyotito’s pain. Her quick thinking saves Coyotito from the adverse effect of the scorpion sting; a withered leg, a crumpled back or a blind eye. Surely, family members are always there for us.
  • Kino
    Kino is a simple family man who loves and strives to protect his family. Kino finds solace and contentment in the song of the family. He knows the value of family since he inherited his only prized possession, a canoe, from his father and grandfather. He cannot take a chance that the doctor is lying to him about Coyotito’s health since he doesn’t want his child to suffer. When he gets the pearl Kino only thinks of how to improve his family; clothes for Juana and Coyotito, education for Coyotito and marrying Juana in church. Although the pearl causes pain, Kino only clings on it because he wants the best for his family.
  • Juan Thomas
    Juan Thomas cares for and values his brother Kino. He shows up when Coyotito is stung and accompanies Kino to the doctor. He advices Kino to be careful so that the dealers don’t take advantage of him. He also accompanies him to the dealers. When Kino kills a man, he offers him and his family shelter in his hut and tries to divert the attention of the neighbors and gathers supplies for the journey; a bag of beans, a gourd of rice, dried pepper, salt, a knife and an axe. Although he doesn’t manage to convince Kino to get rid of the evil pearl, he does all he can to help him escape it.
  • Wife
    Juana cares for her husband Kino and is always there for him. She wakes up early to prepare breakfast for her family. She is always on Kino’s side and acts like his chief advisor. She sees the potentially harmful nature of the pearl and asks Kino to get rid of it. She gets tired of Kino’s inaction and tries to throw the pearl away. Even after Kino attacks her she has no anger for him in her. She advices Kino to escape the village after he kills a man and sticks with him through thick and thin as they return to the village with their dead son. She is on his side when he flings the pearl back into the sea.
    3:3:3:3=12 points

In conclusion, it is indeed true to say that family members are always there for us. Surely blood is thicker than water.
Accept any other valid conclusion 2marks

25. “Greed controls human desires and perpetuates evil against others." Discuss the statement drawing your illustrations from the set text The Pearl by John Steinbeck. (20mks)


Many people have suffered in the hands of others as a result of greed. Greed for wealth, power or fame. To acquire all or any of these, some have committed hienus acts against those they perceive to stand between them and what they want. The following instances in John Steinbeck's The Pearl, show this.


  • The doctor is driven by his greed for Kino's pearl that he poisons Coyotito in order to pretend to be treating him later so that he can get money from Kino, pgs 51,52,53,54,55.
  • The pearl buyers collectively agree to cheat Kino of the true value of his pearl's worth. Their plan to pay little for Kino's precious pearl, however, backfires for Kino refuses to sell it. It evil for them to swindle Kino when they do not stand to gain anything apart self gratification on their part.
  • Kino exhibits greed in his possessive nature. He sees the pearl as the sure way to a better life. He shuns all advice against his possessed view and becomes so aggressive and fights his wife who, on seeing dangers of their continued keeping the pearl, tries to throw it back into the sea. His change into a violent man is brought about by his greed to keep the pearl in spite of the obvious dangers.
  • The trackers follow Kino on his journey to the capital with one desire; to take his Pearl, and possibly kill him. This desire is perpetuated by greed. They end up killing Coyotito, and all of them are single handedly killed by Kino, pg 102,115.
  • The pearl is said to have stirred something evil in people. Neighbors, traders and people unknown to Kino all see their dreams fulfilment in Kino's pearl. Between them and the fulfilment of these dreams is Kino. A case in hand are those who attack him the first night and the next where he ends up killing one.
  • These people are driven by greed to attempt to take Kino's pearl. In their frustration, they puncture Kino's boat, probably to immobilize him and prevent his escape to the capital. Further more,they burn down his heart when they fail to get the pearl there.

Unchecked greed can bring untold miseries to the victim as to the culprit.

26. "Superstition may sometimes affect the way people live their lives." Using examples from John Steinbeck's "The Pearl," write a composition to illustrate the truth of this assertion.

  • When Coyotito is in danger of being stung by the scorpion, Juana mutters an ancient magic incantation and then some Hail Mary’s to protect her son. The ancient, superstitious religion of the peasantry has been mixed with the Catholicism of the Western upper class. Juana appeals to native gods and the Western God, uncertain of which holds the true power. This mingling of a polytheistic religion with Roman Catholicism is common in native countries that are colozized. The natives combine the gods of their own religion with the figures of Catholicism. Elements of their original faith remain, such as incantations like the one Juana mutters.
  • Juana prays that Kino will find a pearl so that they can have Coyotito’s scorpion sting treated by the doctor. She prays in an attempt to force from the gods the luck she and Kino need to take care of Coyotito. Finding a pearl of value strictly luck. Pearls themselves are accidental, and finding a pearl is considered a gift from the gods or God.
  • When Kino finds the large shell, he is reluctant to open it fist because he doesn’t want to show the gods or God that he wants the pearl so much. He believes that if he wants it too much, it won’t.
  • Kino worries that the gods will get revenge against him he finds success. He knows that the gods hate when men plan for success, and now that Kino is making plans, he fears that something will come and rob him of this opportunity.
  • Juana believes that the pearl is cursed because it has brought an intruder into their home. She warns Kino that it will destroy them all, including their son, if they don’t throw it back to the sea, but Kino won’t listen. His desire to use the pearl to educate his son and make a better life for his family is too strong. He insists that it is their only chance and he won’t give it up. Juana, however, knows that he refuses. He insists that it is their only chance, and he won’t give it up. Juana, however, knows that the pearl will only bring more evil and disaster to them, and decides she must take matters into her own hands, and get rid of the pearl.
  • Juana decides that if Kino won’t get rid of the cursed pearl, she will. She takes the pearl and tries to throw it back to the sea to protect her family from any more danger, but Kino stops her. Her fear of the pearl is well- founded; Kino beats her for trying to get rid of the pearl. Further proving that the pearl is cursed and evil. It has made Kino attack and harm the one person he loves most.
  • Juana warns Kino that the pearl is cursed and he must get rid of it to pass the evil on to someone else. He hopes that Kino can sell it soon so that the evil of the pearl will not destroy his family before Kino can rid himself of it.
  • When Kino looks into the pearl and sees only the tragedies that have befallen his family, he begins to believe that the pearl is cursed, but he still cannot part with it.
  • Kino and Juana throw the pearl back into the sea after Coyotito is killed by the trackers. The cursed pearl has brought the death of their child and forced Kinoto kill survive and protect his family. The great pearl has brought nothing but misery to Kino and his family, and together they throw the cursed object back into the sea. As it sinks, the music of the pearl turns to a whisper and then disappears.

27. With reference to John Steinbeck’s novel The Pearl, write a composition on the degrading consequences of poverty. 

  1. Poor diet: Reference to Kino’s breakfast in comparison to the doctors.  Both Kino and Juana have a simple breakfast. The author places hunger as the first enemy of the poor. The author says “For sickness is second only to hunger as the enemy of the poor. Kino is said to have squatted by the fire pit and rolled a hot corn-cake and dipped it in sauce and ate it. And he drank a little pulque and that was breakfast. The poor are also said to work for long hours without food. Kino says that Juana “could stand fatigue and hunger almost better than Kino himself.”
  2. Deprivation of healthcare: When Coyotito was stung everyone was surprised that Juana wants a doctor. He never visited the brush houses. The author says that it is “a wonderful thing, a memorable thing to want a doctor. To get him would be a remarkable thing. The doctor never came to the cluster of brush houses. Why would he when he had more than he could do to take care of the rich people…” “He would not come, the people said.” When Juana decides that they go, they only end up being embarrassed and the doctor refuses to treat Coyotito.  
  3. Denial of education: This is captured in Kino’s ambition. The native Mexicans are so poor the basic education. Due to this they are enslaved by ignorance. Kino hopes that with the finding of the pearl his son will open books and know how to read and write and he say that “these things will make us free because we will know. He feels like the pearl offers the only chance. “This is our chance,” he said. “Our son must go to school; he must break out of the pot that holds us in.”
  4. Lack of clothing: Kino and his family have been deprived of clothing on account of poverty. This in effect undermines their dignity. It is said that when Kino was going to sell the pearl “Kino’s ragged white clothes were clean at least.” The beggars quick analysis of “Juana’s old blue skirt, saw the tear in the shawl, appraised the green ribbon on her braids, read the age of Kino’s blanket and a thousand washings of his clothes and set them down as poverty people.”
  5. Poor housing: The brush houses are juxtaposed and the stone and plastered houses. The houses expose the poor to risks as seen from the ease of attack that Kino experiences. Similarly, a fire would threaten to bring down the many houses. 

28. Failure to listen to wise counsel leads to suffering, show the truthfulness of this statement drawing your illustrations from the novel, The Pearl by John Stem beck. (20mks)


  • Juana advise Kino to throw away the pearl back to the see in vain.
  • Juan Thomas advises Kino to sell the pearl locally instead of trying to go to the city.
  • The merchants want to take the pearl at one thousand five hundred pesos which though small, Kino has never handled such amount of money before but he declines to let go.
  • Juana asks her husband, Kino to stay in the cave but he opts to follow the trackers to his disadvantage
  • Juana throws the pearl back into the sea.

In conclusion, it would be wise to follow advice given by sincere people to avoid regretting later

29. Excessive desire for material things can negatively influence one’s character and sanity. Using Kino, draw illustrations from John Steinbeck’s The Pearl

Any relevant and valid introduction.

  • Kino’s determination to fight poverty and guarantee a future of comfort and security is rewarded with a rare find of the greatest pearl in the world.  However, such determination is marked with a mad obsession that blocks him from being reasonable (sober)
  • Blow – A thief gets into his house and attempts to steal the pearl from where he buried it.  Kino fights the thief off with a knife.  He however receives a blow on his head and Juana has to nurse him.  Her plea for Kino to throw the pearl “This pearl is like sin! It will destroy us” is meet with a stubborn resolve to keep it.
  • Stone – When Kino steps out of his brush house, Juana hears a little rush, a grunting struggle and a blow.  In terror, she comes out with a stone from the fire place only to find Kino on the ground struggling to rise.  He had been attacked by a thief in need of the pearl.  She entreats him to do away with the pearl:  let us throw it back in the sea where it belongs Kino, it is evil, it is evil! Kino is determined to defend and protect it at all costs.
  • Slap – At cock-crow, Kino senses his wife moving quietly to the fire place and takes the pearl intending to throw it into the sea.  He follows her, wrenches the pearl out of her hands and strikes her in the face with his clenched fist.  She falls among the boulders and he kicks her in the side.  He becomes violent and half insane.
  • Killing – As he moves away from his wife, Kino is attacked and his attackers ransack him.  Luckily, the pearl drops from his hand and falls near a stone.  He kills a man with his knife.  Kino and his family attempt to flee from their village; but to his dismay, his canoe has a hole in it.  He was an animal now, for hiding, for attacking pg.87
  • Advice – Kino is not ready to take advice from Juan Tomas or Juana, his wife and t get rid of the pearl.  He says the pearl has become his soul. “If I give it up I shall lose my soul.”92
  • Trackers-Kino readily counters any threats to himself and his family.  He ceases to be human and becomes an animal.  Kino kills the three trackers in a moment of sheer madness.”….the big knife swung free in his right hand.”

Any relevant and valid conclusion.

30. “He looked into its surface and it was grey and ulcerous” with close reference to the Pearl, write an essay explaining how the pearl could be said to be grey and ulcerous.

When kino gets the pearl of the world he has high hopes that it will transform his life and that of his life family for the better. Unfortunately for him the pearl turns to be the cause of his misfortunes. This as illustrated in the arguments below. (Accept any other relevant introduction)

  • The doctor – When the doctor learnt that Kino Had the pearl of the world he decides to try his lack at benefitting from it. He declares that Coyotitois a patient of his and visits Kino with the intention of treating the boy and getting the pearl as his payment. When he realizes that that Coyotito had recovered from the scorpion sting,he resorts to poisoning him. This caused Kino and his wife a lot of agony as they fear for their son since the doctors treatment worsened Coyotito’s condition (pages 41, 50, 52-53)
  • Pearl buyers Kino finds himself faced by the exploitative pearl buyer who are set reap maximally from his pearl. The buyers conspire beforehand to offer a low price for Kino’s fortune. For a pearl expected by Kino to raise 50 thousand piaster he is only offered a possible 150 piasters. He is greatly disappointed and opts not to sell to them (Pages 64, 67 – 75)
  • Broken relationship – it was expected that the pearl would strengthen the relationship between Kino and his wife Juana. Kina had hoped that he would wed his wife in church. The Pearl does the opposite. The cordial relationship between Kino and his wife is strained. When Kino realizes that Juana had intended to throw away the pearl he beats her. This is after Juana realizes that the pearl is evil and could bring them trouble (page 80)
  • Kino who is described by the neighbors as a good man in the end gets transformed into a murder because of the pearl. On his way from stopping Juana from throwing the pearl into the ocean he is attacked by someone who fights and kills. This necessitates his movement into a place of safety. He also kills the three trakers who follows him when he goes to sell the pearl.(pg 65)
  • The pearl of the world which was admired by many and which had many dreams to Kino( baptism and eductionation of Coyotito, church wedding and new clothes) Caused Kino physical injuries and peace of mind when he is attacked at night e.g after failure to sell the pearl and after the doctors visit.
    Kino ends up losing his Canoe(a hole is made), His house(burned down) and his only son is shot dead.

The pearl which was a source of hope for Kino ends up causing him pain as illustrated in the points above

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