The Pearl


John Steinbeck

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The Pearl Characters


A strong, young Native American, Kino is The Pearl’s protagonist and the head of its central family. He lives with his wife, Juana, and their son, Coyotito, in a brush house near… read analysis of Kino


Like her husband, Kino, Juana is hard-working, serious, and able to endure great physical and emotional strain. She nurses Coyotito, builds fires for corncakes, prays in times of distress, and attempts to heal… read analysis of Juana


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… read analysis of Coyotito

The doctor

The doctor is the ultimate embodiment of evil and greed in The Pearl. The opposite of what one would expect of a doctor, whose job is to care for others, he is selfish, indulgent… read analysis of The doctor

The pearl-dealers

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 Kinoread analysis of The pearl-dealers
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The neighbors

Kino and Juana’s neighbors often assemble as a unified chorus or procession to follow and support the family. For the most part, they unite only in times of particular excitement and, even then, their… read analysis of The neighbors

The trackers

These are the three men, two on foot and one on horseback, who come from the town to capture Kino’s family and pearl. In defense, Kino kills the trackers while they are resting… read analysis of The trackers

The priest

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… read analysis of The priest
Minor Characters
Juan Tomas
Juan Tomas is Kino’s older brother, who provides his younger sibling with shelter, wisdom, and support. He articulates important truths in the novel: that the pearl is evil, that mankind is innately selfish and greedy, and that the pearl-dealers are likely to cheat Kino.
Doctor’s servant
The Doctor’s servant is an example of someone who shares Kino’s race and ancestry but does not share Kino’s drive to resist the influence of European colonizers. When Kino tries to speak to him in the old language, he responds in the language of the doctor.
Apolonia is Juan Tomas’s wife and Kino’s sister-in-law.