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Plot is the sequence of events in the story. Plot is seen as the structure of the actions or events which are ordered to give meaning to the story. The events or incidents that take place in a story are developed based on a particular structure. The structure of the plot entails the 5-stage development in the novel “The Pearl”. The 5-stage developments are:

1. The Introduction or Opening stage
2. The Rising Action Stage
3. The Climax
4. The Falling Action Stage
5. The Closure or Ending

The introduction stage provides the background to the story (where and when) and who the characters are.

The rising action stage is when the series of conflicts are developed in the story. The conflicts that the characters face cause them to react to the situations. The behaviour of the characters to situations would show the personality traits of the characters (joyful, far-sighted, egoistic, selfish, cunning, practical, etc).

The climax is the moment of greatest tension in the story. The characters have reached a point where they have to take a particular course of action. The action is seen as a resolution or an answer to their problems. In ‘The Pearl’, Kino faces the trackers, as he knows that it is between them and him. Kino decides to solve the problem. He needs to kill them before the trackers get him and his family. This is the highest moment of tension for him. Thus, the climax of a story is the build-up of human emotions to the highest point. It makes the characters come up with a possible solution to overcome the problem.

The falling action is the series of actions that follow as a result of the characters’ reaction to the problem; the consequences of the actions the characters take at the climax stage. Kino kills the three trackers, but he loses his son, Coyotito. Kino and Juana have to face the realities of the situation.

The closure or ending is the end result or finality in the story. It is the conclusion to the story. Kino and Juana have to live with the fact that Coyotito is dead. They have to face the consequences of their actions. The pearl brings only hardships and sufferings. They have lost everything. The closure provides information on whether the characters have solved their problems, through their actions (at the climax stage). It also provides information on whether the characters have to face the consequences of their actions for the rest of their lives. Kino throws the pearl into the sea. Kino and Juana are losers in the end. 

Let's examine the plot in “The Pearl”. Look at how the author develops the story by introducing conflicts (problems, situations and circumstances) that cause the characters to react and behave in certain ways.

The Introduction or Opening stage
In “The Pearl” the author introduces the setting of the fishing village with the main character Kino, his wife Juana and their son, Coyotito. The author describes the brush houses and provides information on Kino and his people. The story unfolds with Kino enjoying the breaking of day while Juana prepares breakfast. Their son is in the hanging box. The atmosphere is peaceful and everything looks so calm.

The Rising Action Stage
In “The Pearl” the elements of conflict are built upon by the author. Kino and Juana face a serious problem: Coyotito is stung by a scorpion. The scorpion’s poison may cause an adult to become ill. But it may prove fatal for a baby like Coyotito.

Several symptoms are indicated such as having swelling, fever and the throat becoming tightened and developing cramps in the stomach. Thus, Juana tells Kino to take their baby to see the doctor.

The problem does not end with the visit to the doctor’s house. The doctor refuses to treat Coyotito when he learns that Kino has only some ugly pearl to offer as fee for his diagnosis. Kino feels humiliated as he is turned away from the doctor’s house.

The problem is not solved. Kino and Juana go to the sea in the hope of finding a valuable pearl to treat their baby. Juana looks for seaweed to nurse Coyotito’s wound while Kino dives for pearls.

Kino finds the world’s greatest pearl. He sees it as a fortune which would change their destiny for the better. He visualises a blissful life ahead: fine clothes for him and his family, education for his son and owning new necessities.

Everyone in the village becomes envious of Kino’s fortune. The pearl draws everyone’s interest. The priest becomes interested in Kino and his family and pays him a visit. He reminds Kino to be dutiful to the Church.

The doctor pays a visit with malicious intent. He frightens Kino by telling him the adverse effects of the scorpion’s poison in Coyotito’s body. He poisons Coyotito under the pretext of treating him so that he will be allowed to see his patient. The doctor pretends that he does not know Kino has found a great pearl. He offers to keep the pearl in his safe for Kino. Kino is very suspicious of the doctor.

Kino buries the pearl and stays alert of any intrusion. He senses danger. An intruder is inside his brush house looking for the pearl. He forces the intruder away from his house by striking him with his knife. The intruder escapes. Kino is hit on his head and blood oozes from his forehead. Kino faces his first violent encounter. Juana becomes emotionally charged and tells Kino to get rid of the pearl as it is evil. The problem becomes worse as both are now disturbed by the presence of the pearl.

Kino takes his pearl to La Paz town. The pearl buyers conspire to cheat Kino and rob him of his fortune. They offer him very low prices. The lowest offer is 500 pesos and the highest is 1500 pesos. Kino leaves in disappointment as he knows that his pearl is very valuable.

The neighbours gather and discuss the event of the day: Kino’s attempt at selling the pearl. They are divided on whether he has made the right decision not to sell his pearl. Kino feels hopeless.

A second attempt is made to get Kino’s pearl. Kino is attacked outside his house. Blood oozes from his scalp and a deep cut in his cheek stretching from the ear to his chin. Juana is baffled and insists that they get rid of the pearl.  Kino plans to go by canoe to the capital to sell the pearl.

Juana leaves the brush house towards the beach and attempts to throw the pearl. Kino follows her and beats her when he realises what she is up to.

On his way back to his home, Kino is attacked again. He kills his attacker in self-defence.

Juana finds the body of the person Kino has killed. She conceals the stranger’s body. They need to escape. They are now in serious trouble.

Kino finds his canoe damaged and becomes furious. He rushes towards his brush house, only to see it go up in flames. His enemy has set fire to it. Kino is devastated. Everyone believes that Kino and his family members have perished in the fire.  The old order of life is no longer there for him and his family.

Kino and Juana seek temporary refuge in Juan Tomas' place. He helps them get some food, a long working knife which can be used as a small axe, a tool and a weapon. They flee the brush village.

Kino, Juana and Coyotito are fugitives. They head to the north. They are hunted by people with evil minds. These trackers are inland hunters who would not hesitate to kill anyone for a price. These cold-blooded killers are in hot pursuit of Kino and Juana.

Kino finds a shallow cave and gets Juana and Coyotito to hide in it. He sets a trail to mislead the trackers from their hideout. Kino knows that he must act fast before daylight breaks to save his family.

The Climax
Kino crawls stealthily down the mountain.  He is quiet and very patient. He launches his attack. One of the trackers shoots towards the direction of the cave as he hears a cry similar to that of a baby’s cry.  Kino kills the three trackers. Kino hears Juana moaning from the cave.

The Falling Action Stage
Kino and Juana return to La Paz. Juana carries a heavy bundle. Her shawl is tainted with dry blood. They walk without noticing or acknowledging anyone. They are overcome by sorrow. 

The Closure / Ending / Resolution
Kino digs into his clothes and takes out the pearl. It appears grey and ulcerous. He sees the faces of evil in it preying on him. On the surface of the pearl he sees Coyotito with the top of his head blown off in gun-shot. There is no turning back. Kino builds up his courage and with all his might he throws the pearl into the sea. The pearl is gone. Kino and Juana lose everything: their life, canoe, brush house, and their precious son, Coyotito.

'The Pearl' is a story of hope and despair

Kino finds the greatest pearl in the world and hopes his family’s destiny would change for the best. The pearl brings a lot of misfortunes to Kino and his family. Almost everyone becomes interested in the pearl. The pearl becomes the centre of attention. Evil men set out to get the pearl from Kino.

  The story can also be divided into two to look at the 
  development of the story.

   - The situations before Kino finds the pearl.  
   - The situations after Kino finds the pearl.

 Before finding the pearl

*  The beginning of a new day.
*  Kino enjoys the scenery of the rising sun.
*  Juana prepares breakfast
*  A scorpion stings Coyotito.
*  Kino and Juana take Coyotito to the doctor.
    The neighbours accompany them.
*  The doctor refuses to treat Coyotito. Kino
    feels humiliated because he is poor.
*  Kino and Juana go to the sea. Juana looks for
    seaweeds to treat Coyotito. Kino dives to look
    for pearls.
* Kino finds the world’s greatest pearl.
* The news of the pearl spreads like wild fire.

 After finding the pearl

* Everyone is interested in the pearl.
* Kino sees a whole new meaning to life: a great 
   future for his family.
* The priest visits Kino and advises him.
* The doctor visits Kino to treat Coyotito. He poisons 
   Coyotito so he can visit again.
* Kino attempts to sell his pearl in La Paz.
* An intruder attacks Kino.
* The pearl buyers cheat him and only offer a low 
   price. Kino feels disgusted and plans to sell his
   pearl in the capital.
* Kino feels disappointed.
* Juana tells Kino the pearl is evil.
* Juana tries to throw the pearl away. Kino hits and
   kicks her.
* Kino kills someone in self-defence.
* Kino finds a big hole in his canoe.
* His brush house is set on fire.
* Kino and Juana hide in Juan Tomas’ house.
* Juan Tomas and his wife provide food and  
   necessary things for them to escape.
* Kino and Juana flee with Coyotito towards the  
* Trackers are on their trail.
* They hide in the cave.
* Kino realises that he needs to kill the trackers
   before they kill him and his family.
* Kino kills all three trackers.
* Coyotito is shot accidentally and dies.
* Kino and Juana return to their village.
* Kino throws the pearl into the sea.


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