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"AND""OR"

Material Greed, Material Society
Throughout the history of mankind, the lust for wealth has been the cause of wars, murders, and many types of criminal acts. In the story, "The Pearl" by John Steinbeck, the pearl started out as a sparkling jewel of splendor, and then evolved into a malignant growth of evil. The desire to possess it and the wealth that it represents, changes the lives of three law-abiding people, Juana, the Priest, and the doctor and ultimately destroys them. Juana, the faithful wife of Kino, a poor fisherman, had always lived a spiritual life. Even though she was poor, she felt content and happy. When her son Coyito was stung by a scorpion, she immediately turned to God and began to pray for her son's life. When the child's health did not improve, Juana took the baby to the doctor. Since he only treated the wealthy people of the town, he refused to treat the child and turned them away. In desperation, Kino turned to the sea to seek his fortune. Luck was on his side, and he found a very large and beautiful specimen of a pearl When Juana first saw the "Pearl of The World", she felt as though all of her prayers had been answered. If she could have foreseen the future, she would have had second thoughts about this rare jewel That night, as they were about to go to sleep, he heard a "sound so soft that it might have been simply a thought..." and he quickly attacked the trespasser. This is where the problems for Juana and her family began. Kino committed an act that he ordinarily would not have been capable of doing. The feeling of greed and fear mounted in Kino's body and made him lose control of his actions. Soon even Juana who had always had faith in her husband, began to doubt him... "It will destroy us all" she yelled. She had tried to help Kino before too much trouble had occurred, but she realized that she was not competent enough to help. The Hippocratic oath which is taken by all doctors states that he/she is expected to aid all people who are sick, (not just the ones that are capable of paying the medical fee). The Doctor in the village of La Paz, was swayed by greed, did not feel bound by this oath, and only helped those who could afford his service. He would never have dared to refuse to help a wealthy lawyer or noblemen, but thought nothing of turning Kino away when the group of peasants arrived at his door with the sick child. He said, "Have I nothing better to do than cure insect bites for 'little Indians'? I am a doctor, not a veterinarian". When he heard about the pearl and realized that Kino owned it, he changed his mind and went to the fisherman's home. The doctor's sudden "desire" to help the child was not an act of kindness but one of greed. He expected that Kino would pay him by giving him the pearl. Another person who misused his profession was the Priest of the church in La Paz. In order to receive the sacraments, the person requesting the sacrament must "donate" a small amount of money to the church. It was only after Kino found the pearl, that the priest looked differently upon him. In the hope of gaining possession of the pearl and achieving social status for himself in the eyes of the church, the Priest allowed greed to overcome him and he lost sight of his "calling". In "The Pearl", Steinbeck expresses the fact that man's manifestation for wealth and property leads to the self destruction of man, both mentally, and physically. The Priest of La Paz, The doctor, and Juana were all poisoned by greed.

"For complete summary and analysis of literary works, please visit NovelGuide.com

 



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