The Pearl

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The Pearl Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Kino awakes in the middle of the night to see Juana arise from the bed mat, go over to the fireplace, pause by Coyotito, and then exit through the door. Kino, enraged, quietly trails behind her. When Juana hears him, she begins to run towards the water and lifts her arm with the intention of throwing the pearl. Kino jumps on her, grabs the pearl from her hand, and then hits her face and kicks her side.
Juana, strong-willed, tries to take initiative and get rid of the evil pearl. To preserve the pearl, Kino acts cruelly against the person he loves the most, revealing the full extent to which the pearl indiscriminately inspires greed and evil in those who encounter it.
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Kino hisses at his wife with bared teeth, while Juana looks back with brave eyes. She is familiar with and unafraid of Kino’s murderousness. Kino feels disgusted and walks away, up the beach.
The pearl has awoken a savage rage in Kino. Juana, demonstrating the strength of the family bond, loves Kino in spite of his rage. She recognizes his violence against her as part of his temperament and accepts it.
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He stabs at something lurking and engages in a fight with another body whose fingers search through his clothes for the pearl. The pearl is forced from Kino’s hand and lands upon the ground.
Everywhere Kino turns, another danger is lurking. To protect the pearl, Kino has entered into an endless series violent defensive attacks.
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Juana, meanwhile, lifts herself up and reassures herself that Kino is necessary for her survival. She acknowledges and appreciates the differences between the values of man (strength, sacrifice) and the values of woman (reason, caution) without entirely understanding them.
Juana transcends Kino’s immediate violence and recognizes his importance to her, and the general importance of a man to a woman. She recognizes and does not question the fact that she and Kino fall into customary gender roles, with wife subservient to husband.
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Following after Kino, Juana comes across the pearl. She is considering whether she ought to try disposing of it again when she sees Kino and a stranger in the aftermath of a fight.
Even when the pearl is knocked away, it comes back into the paths of Kino and Juana, as though destined to be in their hands.
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Seeing that Kino has killed the other figure, Juana recognizes that she and Kino have left the life they’d led before, and that there’s no turning back now. She drags the dead body into the brush and dabs Kino’s face.
The pearl has turned Kino not only into a violent man, but into a killer. His killing of a man brings him and Juana completely outside of their old way of life.
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Kino begins to complain of having lost the pearl, but Juana silences him by presenting it. She tries to explain to Kino that they have to leave, particularly now that he has killed a man. Even if it was in self-defense, the murder will turn even more people against them.
Kino’s murder necessitates that Kino and Juana become fugitives. It distances them from the sympathy and values of their neighbors. It also shows how the power structure victimizes the poor. The powerful attempt to steal the pearl anonymously, and then when Kino kills to protect what is his he exposes himself to legal danger in a way that the rich—the aggressors here—do not.
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Kino instructs Juana to get Coyotito from the house while he brings the corn and prepares the canoe. But as he approaches the boat, he sees that someone has damaged it with a large hole in the bottom. He thinks that this is an “evil beyond thinking.”
Kino’s only truly valuable possession, his canoe, has been destroyed because of the pearl—the possession of Kino’s that appears most valuable but has only brought the family destruction.
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Kino does not think to steal a neighbor’s canoe.
Despite the effect of the pearl, Kino keeps his respect of propriety intact. He has not completely abandoned his respect for tradition and neighbors.
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The sounds and smells of morning activity arrive and Kino, determined, runs towards the house, only to find it engulfed in flames. Juana comes towards Kino, carrying Coyotito, and says that the house had been torn up by “the dark ones.”
The burning of Kino and Juana’s home reinforces their rootlessness. Now there is nothing keeping them in the town, and their enemies seem to be growing in number and force.
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Kino is afraid and then slips into Juan Tomas’s hut, pulling his family in behind him. From inside, they hear the cries of their friends watching their burning house outside, including Apolonia. Apolonia returns to the house to exchange her shawl and finds them there. Kino quietly demands that she bring Juan Tomas to the house.
They seek shelter with their family, the only people who they are sure they can trust.
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Kino tells Juan about the attacks and the murder he committed in self-defense, to which Juan replies that the pearl contains a devil and that it must be gotten rid of. Without house, canoe, or a virtuous track record, Kino despairs, and begs that Juan allow them to hide out there. Juan permits it, promising that he will protect them, but only for a day.
Juan agrees with Juana that the pearl brings only evil with it, but Kino insists that it’s all they have. At this point, the family is trapped: the pearl has destroyed everything the family once had, but it’s also, therefore, the only thing left to them.
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Kino and Juana sit in silence during the day and hear what the neighbors are saying about them outside. Juan Tomas deceives the neighbors with false accounts of Juana and Kino’s whereabouts. After a storm occurs, he announces that Kino must have drowned.
Juan contributes to the proliferation of evil by creating lies surrounding Juana and Kino. The fact that it’s desirable for Kino and Juana to be considered dead reveals how extreme their circumstance has become.
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Kino says that he intends to go north and Juan informs him that men from the city will be searching the shore, but that the strong wind will hide their tracks.
Now Kino and Juana have become wanted persons. The people who tried to steal the pearl now feel free to act more openly now that they have forced Kino to kill.
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Kino and Juana leave the house before the moon has come out. Juan calls to his brother, “Go with God,” and asks if he might give up the pearl. To this, Kino responds that the pearl has become his soul.
The pearl is not only Kino’s sole remaining possession. It has become him. The consequences of this transformation, on the basis of his violence toward Juana, are not promising.
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