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Symbolism

Symbolism in literature relates to the use of objects, animals or human experiences or socio-cultural aspects to mean something. The eagle is often seen as a symbol of freedom and strength. Red symbolises danger. Green would mainly refer to the environment. There is a greater meaning to the use of symbols by authors in literary work.

In the novel “The Pearl”, the pearl represents or symbolises both goodness and evil.

GOODNESS:
The pearl is a symbol of good fortune. Kino finds the greatest pearl and looks forward to a better future.

The pearl is the symbol of hope. Kino is poor and no matter how hard he works he would still be poor. This is the reality of the situation of the poor Mexican Indians. Thus, Kino sees the pearl as hope for him and family to make it good in life.

Kino envisions a brighter future: fine clothes, a decent life and education for his son. Kino knows that education is the key to a successful life for the future generation. Thus, Kino sees the pearl as a way out from their miseries and sufferings in their poverty-ridden environment.

EVIL
The pearl is a symbol of evil. It is a sin to keep the pearl. The pearl only brings misfortune, unhappiness, tragedies, and ruins people’s lives. While Kino sees it as a means towards an end, Juana on the other hand, sees it as an end towards a means.

Juana realises that the pearl is evil and would destroy them. Kino experiences a series of attacks and is hurt in all three attacks. Their canoe is damaged and brush house set on fire.

Both of them have to be fugitives. They need to escape from evil people who are out to avenge their anger and get hold of the pearl. The pearl is the source of all their problems. It is evil and will destroy them.

Kino and Juana flee their village but trackers pursue them. Kino kills four people in all to safeguard himself and his family. Coyotito is dead as a result of an accidental shooting.

Kino realises the power of evil in the pearl. In the end he does not see the pearl as a solution to problems but the source of all his sufferings and miseries.  In the end Kino sees the pearl as grey and ugly looking with evil faces looking at him. The pearl as a symbol of evil becomes evident to him.

 
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