The Pearl

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The pearl-dealers Character Analysis

While the pearl-dealers appear to be individual buyers, each providing estimates independently of one another, they are, in fact, all operating under a single master buyer, who controls their bids and wages. Unbeknownst to Kino’s family or his neighbors, before Kino comes in with the pearl, the buyers have conspired to give him the lowest estimate possible. Their underestimation infuriates Kino, making him feel powerless and cheated, and forces him to go to the capital for a fairer assessment.

The pearl-dealers Quotes in The Pearl

The The Pearl quotes below are all either spoken by The pearl-dealers or refer to The pearl-dealers. 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.
Chapter 4 Quotes

But there was no sign, no movement, the face did not change, but the secret hand behind the desk missed in its precision. The coin stumbled over a knuckle and slipped silently into the dealer’s lap.

Related Characters: The pearl-dealers
Related Symbols: The Pearl
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:

Knowing that holding onto the pearl makes him a target, Kino brings the pearl to a pearl-dealer the morning after he finds the precious jewel. Of course, the entire town finds out, and follows him to the office of the pearl-dealer. The narrator informs the reader that all the pearl-dealers secretly work for the same employer under a salary, so that there is no competition in prices. The townspeople, who make their living selling pearls, do not know that they have been cheated their entire lives. The pearl-dealer, having heard of Kino's great pearl, acts calm and collected when Kino arrives. He expertly plays with a coin that weaves through his knuckles as he speaks with Kino. In this quote, the pearl-dealer sees the pearl itself for the first time. Even though he keeps a calm face, the fact that he drops the coin means that he is shocked by what he sees. Kino has indeed found the pearl of the world--but the pearl-dealer, like everyone else in town, will attempt to cheat him out of the riches he is due.

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The pearl-dealers Character Timeline in The Pearl

The timeline below shows where the character The pearl-dealers appears in The Pearl. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Value and Wealth Theme Icon
The pearl-dealers sit at their desks, waiting for the pearls to come in. The dealers always assess... (full context)
Community Theme Icon
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
When the pearl-dealers hear of Kino’s pearl, their fingers burn with anticipation, scheming of how they might become... (full context)
Chapter 4
Community Theme Icon
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
The pearl dealers have heard word of Kino’s intention and they sit in their offices and fantasize. All... (full context)
Community Theme Icon
All the neighbors go, as expected, to follow Kino and Juana to the pearl dealers. (full context)
Community Theme Icon
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Juan Tomas walks next to Kino, warning his brother that the dealers might cheat him, because Kino doesn’t know what buyers in other places would offer for... (full context)
Community Theme Icon
...under the weight of the significant event to come, and townspeople look on. The pearl dealers prepare their offices. (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Kino goes in to one particular dealer, a “jolly man” capable of laughter and sorrow. He is rolling a coin over his... (full context)
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
The dealer continues to play with the coin behind his desk as he speaks to Kino, asks... (full context)
Value and Wealth Theme Icon
The neighbors whisper to each other as the dealer fingers the pearl, before throwing it back into the tray and declaring the pearl worthless... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Value and Wealth Theme Icon
Three neighboring pearl dealers enter the office and the one sitting at the desk tells them that he has... (full context)
Community Theme Icon
Value and Wealth Theme Icon
...and will go to the capital. In order not to lose his pearl, the first dealer quickly interjects that he will raise his offer. Kino leaves, furious. (full context)
Community Theme Icon
In the evening, all the neighbors analyze the event. They consider the possibility that the dealers had spoken and plotted beforehand, but dismiss the notion. Some think that Kino has destroyed... (full context)
Community Theme Icon
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
...for a long time, before expressing fear for Kino now that has acted against the dealers and the whole system they represent. Juan encourages Kino to leave the town, but suggests... (full context)