The Pearl by John Steinbeck
(Centennial Edition)

81%

10 Critic Reviews

Steinbeck's peculiarly intense simplicity of technique is admirably displayed in this vignette -- a simple, tragic tale of Mexican little people, a story retold by the pearl divers of a fishing hamlet until it has the quality of folk legend...A parable, this, with no attempt to add to its simple pattern.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

“There it lay, the great pearl, perfect as the moon.”
 
Like his father and grandfather before him, Kino is a poor diver, gathering pearls from the gulf beds that once brought great wealth to the Kings of Spain and now provide Kino, Juana, and their infant son with meager subsistence. Then, on a day like any other, Kino emerges from the sea with a pearl as large as a sea gull's egg, as "perfect as the moon." With the pearl comes hope, the promise of comfort and of security....

A story of classic simplicity, based on a Mexican folk tale, The Pearl explores the secrets of man's nature, the darkest depths of evil, and the luminous possibilities of love.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About John Steinbeck

See more books from this Author
No writer is more quintessentially American than John Steinbeck. Born in 1902 in Salinas, California, Steinbeck attended Stanford University before working at a series of mostly blue-collar jobs and embarking on his literary career. Profoundly committed to social progress, he used his writing to raise issues of labor exploitation and the plight of the common man, penning some of the greatest American novels of the twentieth century and winning such prestigious awards as the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He received the Nobel Prize in 1962, "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception." Today, more than thirty years after his death, he remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures.
 
Published February 1, 1993 by Penguin Books. 122 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Children's Books, Action & Adventure, History, Romance. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Pearl
All: 10 | Positive: 10 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Above average
on Oct 05 2011

Steinbeck's peculiarly intense simplicity of technique is admirably displayed in this vignette -- a simple, tragic tale of Mexican little people, a story retold by the pearl divers of a fishing hamlet until it has the quality of folk legend...A parable, this, with no attempt to add to its simple pattern.

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Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by Ryan Zee on Feb 06 2013

But The Pearl isn't about good luck and chance economic downfalls–it isn’t a naive narrative offering before the altar of Lady Fortune. Rather, Steinbeck’s novella is a studied psychological portrait of the impact of a proud, disenfranchised man’s sudden and unprecedented economic hopes.

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Examiner

Excellent
Reviewed by Aubrey Bourgeois on Jul 06 2012

While there are many meanings one can come up with to explain the story there is no one correct answer. The struggle against good and evil, rich and poor...is never an easy thing to pin down. Though in only one hundred pages Steinbeck gets to the heart of the matter and makes us reexamine the things that are really important.

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Suite 101

Good
Reviewed by Nicholas Morine on Apr 27 2009

In summation The Pearl is a short read, yet emotionally captivating and compelling to the last word. It is a great example of the depth of John Steinbeck's literary work...

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by jppzl14 on Jan 04 2016

The Pearl, by John Steinbeck was great, it is by far the most emotional book I've read. Steinbeck does a wonderful job describing each and everyone of his characters. Kino, the main character, is describe throughout the story like a man struggling within himself. To me, he appears as if he was trying to become a man but he doesn't know how.

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EzineArticles

Good
Reviewed by Lynai Lamason on Nov 17 2011

Reading The Pearl gives out a feeling of reading a parable or a fable, though I must say that the story is more than just a fable. It is a social commentary on the great chasm that divides the rich from the poor and the evils of greed...I love how The Pearl has made me think. After all, this is what good literature is all about - to make you think.

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Lit and Life

Above average
Reviewed by Lisa on Nov 22 2010

I loved the use of song in this book. The "Song of the Family" represents the love and peace Kino and Juana feel at the beginning of the book...Steinbeck challenges the reader--how much would you be willing to risk to give your family a better life?

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https://www.commonsensemedia.org

Excellent
Reviewed by Barbara Schultz on Jan 06 2013

Steinbeck's retelling of this Mexican folk tale, The Pearl, is beautiful and lyrical. The author uses evocative language to describe Kino's world and his emotional journey.

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Bianca Pellet

Good
Reviewed by Bianca Pellet on Mar 23 2014

In many ways this is done to great effect: we, the readers, are on Kino's side, urging him on and longing for his success. As mentioned, the descriptions of emotions and the natural world are bewitching, and the short length of The Pearl means that the story's pace is kept taut throughout.

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Wicked Awesome Books

Good
Reviewed by Nikki on Nov 27 2009

In essence, The Pearl is a story about family. It is about the things a man will do to protect and to strengthen his family, but also about the evils that work to destroy it...Steinbeck is a pro at delivering some of the most fundamental human issues and The Pearl is definitely one of those stories. It is a powerful, cautionary tale.

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Reader Rating for The Pearl
65%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 2111 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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