The Pearl

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Coyotito Character Analysis

Perhaps the most important, though most silent, character in the novel, Coyotito is Juana and Kino’s infant son. He is a naïve instigator of action: in the beginning of the novel, he shakes the rope of his hanging box, causing the scorpion to fall on his shoulder and sting him. It is to pay for his treatment that Kino searches for the pearl, and in the end, his cries awaken the trackers and cause them to shoot in his direction and kill him.

Coyotito Quotes in The Pearl

The The Pearl quotes below are all either spoken by Coyotito or refer to Coyotito. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Community Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of The Pearl published in 2002.
Prologue Quotes

“In the town they tell the story of the great pearl—how it was found and how it was lost again. They tell of Kino, the fisherman, and of his wife, Juana, and of the baby, Coyotito. And because the story has been told so often, it has taken root in every man’s mind…If this story is a parable, perhaps everyone takes his own meaning from it and reads his own life into it. In any case, they say in the town that…”

Related Characters: Kino, Juana, Coyotito
Related Symbols: The Pearl
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote appears as a prologue to the story. The quotation marks that bookend the quote suggest that it is one that is often spoken aloud in the telling of the proceeding story. Thus, the story of the "great pearl" has essentially become a parable, such as The Boy who Cried Wolf or The Tortoise and the Hare. Its perpetual telling is meant to teach the listener a lesson, based on the morals gleaned from the misfortunes of Kino, Juana, and Coyotito that befell them once the Great Pearl came into their lives. The lack of geographic specificity in regards to the "town" in which this story is told suggests that, in addition to becoming a vague kind of legend, the tale is passed along in various towns as a warning of the dangers of sudden fortune.

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Chapter 2 Quotes

She gathered some brown seaweed and made a flat damp poultice of it, and this she applied to the baby’s swollen shoulder, which was as good a remedy as any and probably better than the doctor could have done. But the remedy lacked his authority because it was simple and didn’t cost anything.

Related Characters: Juana, Coyotito, The doctor
Related Symbols: The Scorpion
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

Having been turned away from the doctor's home, Juana creates a poultice from seaweed to soothe the baby's sting. In this quote, the narrator notes that while this remedy is likely just as effective as the doctor's treatment would have been, Juana views it as unsatisfactory because it was hastily created by her and not by an expensive white doctor with a degree. This point of view represents the influence that colonization has had on the indigenous people in La Paz. Though Juana and Kino's people have been living in the region for thousands of years, the sudden influx and brutality of Europeans with rifles forced them to become second-class citizens. European dominance has meant that luxuries such as schools and advanced medical care are too expensive for the subjugated natives to afford. Since Kino and Juana want absolutely the best for their son, they are determined to have him treated by a rich white doctor, whose people have thrived, albeit through cruel practices, in the region. By contrast, Juana's people have been murdered and subjugated, and thus internalized a sense of weakness that she associates with her poultice, regardless of how effective it is. She wants Coyotito to be healed by a doctor whose wealth and skin color are a kind of proof of strength and dominance.

Chapter 3 Quotes

[The doctor] held the eyelid down. “See—it is blue.” And Kino, looking anxiously, saw that indeed it was a little blue. And he didn’t know whether or not it was always a little blue. But the trap was set. He couldn’t take the chance.

Related Characters: The doctor (speaker), Kino, Coyotito, The doctor
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

After examining Coyotito, the doctor points to a blue vein in the baby's eyelid, and claims it to be the poison from the scorpion's sting. Kino, though worried about his son, is still unsure whether the doctor is making things up that he knows Juana and Kino will believe, or if the baby is actually sick.The doctor gives the baby a little bit of powder, claiming that the poison will "attack within the hour." Sure enough, the baby begins to vomit, and the doctor treats him again, saying he has saved Coyotito's life. The reader is left unsure as to whether Coyitoto was actually still ill, or if the first powder the doctor feeds to the baby is poison to make him vomit and thus seem that the doctor saved Coyotito, so that Juana and Kino will feel indebted to him. Given the doctor's unsavory characterization, it is implied that the situation is likely the latter rather than the former. This, too, is Kino's instinct, though he is too nervous for his son's life to deny him treatment from a certified doctor.

Chapter 6 Quotes

Everyone in La Paz remembers the return of the family; there may be some old ones who saw it, but those whose fathers and whose grandfathers told it to them remember it nevertheless. It is an event that happened to everyone.

Related Characters: Kino, Juana, Coyotito
Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:

Like the quote at the beginning of the story, this quote notes that the story of Kino, Juana, and the pearl is one that is told for generations. Though the misfortunes specifically befell one family, it is perceived as a tragedy that affected the entire town. Since the town is so small, and everyone knows everything about everybody, no detail of the story remained private to Kino and Juana. Given the brutality that the people endured at the hands of the white settlers, and the subjugation they still face, each fortune is regarded as a collective one--leading to everyone wanting a piece of Kino's pearl--and each tragedy is a burden to every member of the town, not just those people it specifically effects. By retelling the story, generations bear the weight of how the promise of wealth can drive a person mad, and also bear the sadness of Coyotito's senseless death. It is a parable that warns against greed and envy, and places importance in family and safety above riches and wealth. One must always be wary of a sudden stroke of luck--if it seems too good to be true, it just might be.

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Coyotito Character Timeline in The Pearl

The timeline below shows where the character Coyotito appears in The Pearl. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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...that has wandered over to their hut, as Juana makes the cakes and sings to Coyotito. It is a morning like all others, safe and whole. (full context)
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Suddenly, Kino and Juana freeze as they see a movement from Coyotito’s hanging box and turn their heads to determine its source: a scorpion is climbing slowly... (full context)
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Kino is reaching for the scorpion when it freezes in place and flicks its tail. Coyotito then laughs and shakes the hanging box’s rope, causing the scorpion to fall on him... (full context)
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From Coyotito’s shoulder, Kino takes the scorpion and squashes it angrily. Juana, meanwhile, tries to suck the... (full context)
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...still enraged by the recollection, he knocks the iron ring against the gate and reports Coyotito’s sting to the servant who opens it, speaking in the old language because the servant... (full context)
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When the servant tells the doctor about Kino and Juana, and Coyotito’s scorpion bite, the doctor becomes angry, insulted by the notion that he would deign to... (full context)
Chapter 2
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On Kino’s blanket, Juana sets down Coyotito, who’s calmed but still swollen. Juana treats his sting with seaweed, which is effective but... (full context)
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The narrator notes that Juana has directed her prayers not toward Coyotito’s survival, but toward Kino’s finding a pearl with which to pay a doctor, because her... (full context)
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Juana goes over to check on Coyotito and finds that the swelling of his shoulder has gone down. Kino clenches the pearl... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...in the pearl—Juana in a new skirt and shoes, he in a new felt hat, Coyotito in an American sailor outfit—and adds that they will have new clothes. (full context)
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...admiringly at Kino while he sees in the pearl visions of ever-grander dreams. He pictures Coyotito at a desk and says aloud that his son will go to school. Juana is... (full context)
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Kino replies that Coyotito is almost all better, but the doctor retorts that there often appears an improvement before... (full context)
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...trapped between rage and fear, but finally lets the doctor enter. The doctor goes to Coyotito and points to the blueness of Coyotito’s wound, as though an indication that the poison... (full context)
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The doctor feeds Coyotito a capsule with white powder and gelatin, predicts that the poison will attack before an... (full context)
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Juana calls to Kino to show him Coyotito’s stomach spasms and flushed face, which convince the couple that the doctor knew what he... (full context)
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...and declares that he is able to defeat the effect of the poison. He feeds Coyotito ammonia as Kino watches the doctor and his doctor’s bag carefully. The doctor claims that... (full context)
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...and Juana try to fall asleep, Kino’s mind continues to work, dreaming of a learned Coyotito and hearing the music of evil. Then he hears a small sound from the corner... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...day for Kino and Juana is felt very strongly. Juana dreams of a baptism for Coyotito. (full context)
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Juana and Kino prepare to go with Coyotito, Kino tilting his hat forward to convey his serious intentions. The pearl lies in a... (full context)
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...wary of the idea and then determined. Juana watches him bury the pearl and feeds Coyotito. (full context)
Chapter 5
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...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... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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...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.” (full context)
Chapter 6
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...finds a clearing by the road to sleep in for a bit. While Juana nurses Coyotito, Kino covers up the tracks they’ve made. A wagon passes by and hides their footprints. (full context)
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...will be married, but he sees in the pearl Juana’s beaten body. He declares that Coyotito will read, but he sees in the pearl only Coyotito’s sick face. (full context)
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Juana is playing with Coyotito and Kino is lightly asleep when Kino cries out in a bad dream and then... (full context)
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...while he leads the trackers into the mountain, and that he will join her and Coyotito if he is able to escape. Juana refuses to leave his side. They move on,... (full context)
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...come to drink. They look at the Gulf from afar as Juana washes and nurses Coyotito and Kino drinks. (full context)
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...Kino’s path uphill, Kino and Juana will go back down the mountain—and reminds Juana that Coyotito cannot make a sound. Kino watches the trackers climb up the hill and rest by... (full context)
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...tells her to go on to Loreto if he’s killed. He lays a hand on Coyotito’s head, touches Juana’s check, and then takes off his white clothing and slithers out of... (full context)
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The moon comes up before Kino had hoped, and Coyotito cries a little from the cave. The trackers hear the cry and stir from their... (full context)