The Pearl

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The priest Character Analysis

The priest plays an active colonizing role in La Paz by spreading the Christian faith of the Europeans to the natives of the land. While Kino and Juana are persuaded by his benevolence—they follow his advice and repeat his sermons and prayers—he may not be as virtuous as they assume. It seems at times, as when he reminds Kino and Juana to thank God for their discovery, that he, too, is only interested in the wealth that their pearl promises.

The priest Quotes in The Pearl

The The Pearl quotes below are all either spoken by The priest or refer to The priest. 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 3 Quotes

“I hope thou wilt remember to give thanks, my son, to Him who has given thee this treasure, and to pray for guidance in the future.”

Related Characters: The priest (speaker), Kino
Related Symbols: The Pearl
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:

Having heard about the Pearl, the priest visits Kino under the guise of wishing him well, but with the actual intention of influencing him to donate money to the Church. Rather than praising Kino for his good luck, the priest attributes Kino's good fortune to the generosity and guidance of the Christian God.The priest, a white missionary, calls each of the townspeople his "son" or "daughter" in a manner that is traditional, but in this power dynamic may be seen as patronizing. In the colonization of the Americas, conversion was frequently used as a method of control. Instead of treating the natives as his equal, the priest infantilizes them, and believes he can manipulate them under the guise of tenants of the Church. This is similar, though not as extreme, to the way that the doctor nastily notes that he does not like to treat the natives because he is not a "veterinarian," thus implying that he believes the indigenous people as so inferior to him that they are on par with animals.


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The priest Character Timeline in The Pearl

The timeline below shows where the character The priest 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
Juana begins to make a fire and the neighbors remain. Word comes that the priest is coming to the brush house. The Father, who treats the villagers like children, enters,... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
The priest tells Kino that he’s heard of the pearl, and that he hopes that Kino will... (full context)