The Pearl

Kino Character Analysis

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 the Gulf Sea. They lead a simple and dignified life, and Kino works hard to keep his family nourished and protected. In the beginning of the novel, Kino is deeply connected to the culture of his ancestors—to their musical customs, their intimacy with nature, and their veneration of the family structure. When he finds the pearl, however, Kino develops grand ambitions and lofty aspirations, which distract him from these traditional values and lead him to commit uncharacteristic acts of violence in protection of the pearl—against his own wife as well as his greedy neighbors and others. By the end of the novel, after his efforts to keep the pearl have resulted in the disaster of Coyotito's death, Kino demonstrates a renewed respect for his wife and a return to his initial values, particularly when he allows Juana to walk by his side and then offers her the honor of throwing the pearl into the ocean.

Kino Quotes in The Pearl

The The Pearl quotes below are all either spoken by Kino or refer to Kino. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer 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:

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Chapter 1 Quotes

This doctor was of a race which for nearly four hundred years had beaten and starved and robbed and despised Kino’s race, and frightened it too, so that the indigene came humbly to the door.

Related Characters: Kino, The doctor
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 2 Quotes

Every year Kino refinished his canoe with the hard shell-like plaster by the secret method that had also come to him from his father. Now he came to the canoe and touched the bow tenderly as he always did.

Related Characters: Kino
Related Symbols: Kino’s Canoe
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

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In the surface of the great pearl he could see dream forms. He picked the pearl from the dying flesh and held it in his palm, and he turned it over and saw that its curve was perfect.

Related Characters: Kino
Related Symbols: The Pearl
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 3 Quotes

The essence of pearl mixed with the essence of men and a curious dark residue was precipitated. Every man suddenly became related to Kino’s pearl, and Kino’s pearl went into the dreams, the speculations, the schemes…of everyone, and only one person stood in the way and that was Kino, so that he became curiously every man’s enemy.

Related Characters: Kino
Related Symbols: The Pearl
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

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It was the rifle that broke down the barriers. This was an impossibility, and if he could think of having a rifle whole horizons were burst and he could rush on. For it is said that humans are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more.

Related Characters: Kino
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

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“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:

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But now, by saying what his future was going to be like, he had created it. A plan is a real thing, and things projected are experienced. A plan once made and visualized becomes a reality along with other realities—never to be destroyed but easily to be attacked…He knew that the gods take their revenge on a man if he be successful through his own efforts. Consequently Kino was afraid of plans, but having made one, he could never destroy it.

Related Characters: Kino
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

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And he could not take the chance of pitting his certain ignorance against this man’s possible knowledge. He was trapped as his people were always trapped, and would be until, as he had said, they could be sure that the things in the books were really in the books.

Related Characters: Kino, The doctor
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

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[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:

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“Who do you fear?” Kino searched for a true answer, and at last he said, “Everyone.” And he could feel a shell of hardness drawing over him.

Related Characters: Kino (speaker), Juana (speaker)
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 4 Quotes

All of the neighbors hoped that sudden wealth would not turn Kino’s head, would not make a rich man of him, would not graft onto him the evil limbs of greed and hatred and coldness. For Kino was a well-liked man; it would be a shame if the pearl destroyed him.

Related Characters: Kino
Related Symbols: The Pearl
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:

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“I am afraid. A man can be killed. Let us throw the pearl back into the sea.” “Hush,” he said fiercely. “I am a man. Hush.”

Related Characters: Kino (speaker), Juana (speaker)
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 5 Quotes

A dead man in the path and Kino’s knife, dark bladed beside him, convinced her. All of the time Juana had been trying to rescue something of the old peace, of the time before the pearl. But now it was gone, and there was no retrieving it.

Related Characters: Kino, Juana
Related Symbols: The Pearl
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 6 Quotes

And Kino ran for the high place, as nearly all animals do when they are pursued.

Related Characters: Kino
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:

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“Juana,” he said, “I will go and you will hide…if I can escape them, I will come to you. It is the only safe way.” She looked full into his eyes for a moment. “No,” she said. “We go with you.”

Related Characters: Kino (speaker), Juana (speaker)
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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The two came from the rutted country road into the city, and they were not walking in single file, Kino ahead and Juana behind, as usual, but side by side.

Related Characters: Kino, Juana
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:

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The people say that the two seemed to be removed from human experience; that they had gone through pain and had come out on the other side; that there was almost a magical protection about them.

Related Characters: Kino, Juana
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:

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And then Kino laid the rifle down, and he dug among his clothes, and then he held the great pearl in his hand. He looked into its surface and it was gray and ulcerous. Evil faces peered from it into his eyes, and he saw the light of burning.

Related Characters: Kino, Juana
Related Symbols: The Pearl
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:
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Kino Character Timeline in The Pearl

The timeline below shows where the character Kino appears in The Pearl. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Community Theme Icon
Kino awakes in the early morning and looks around him to see his son still asleep... (full context)
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Nature Theme Icon
Kino watches a crowd of industrious ants and coaxes a shy dog that has wandered over... (full context)
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Kino goes back into the hut and eats his corncake with Juana, both of them silent... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
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Suddenly, Kino and Juana freeze as they see a movement from Coyotito’s hanging box and turn their... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Kino is reaching for the scorpion when it freezes in place and flicks its tail. Coyotito... (full context)
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From Coyotito’s shoulder, Kino takes the scorpion and squashes it angrily. Juana, meanwhile, tries to suck the poison out... (full context)
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Just as Kino is admiring her fortitude, Juana demands that the doctor be gotten. (full context)
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Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Value and Wealth Theme Icon
The neighbors follow at the heels of Kino and Juana as they walk to and arrive at the city, replete with plaster, stone,... (full context)
Community Theme Icon
Value and Wealth Theme Icon
...know everything about the town—the sins of its inhabitants, the bad ways of the doctor—pin Kino and Juana down as “poverty people,” and look on to see what will come of... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
At the doctor’s gate, Kino hesitates, recalling that the doctor’s people had historically oppressed his own people. Finally, still enraged... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
When the servant tells the doctor about Kino and Juana, and Coyotito’s scorpion bite, the doctor becomes angry, insulted by the notion that... (full context)
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Value and Wealth Theme Icon
The Doctor asks if Kino has any money, so the servant returns to the gate and asks how Kino planned... (full context)
Community Theme Icon
Shame settles over the group of neighbors and beggars that has followed Kino and Juana; they disperse to save Kino from the humiliation. (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Kino stands for a while at the gate, before putting back on his hat. In a... (full context)
Chapter 2
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Value and Wealth Theme Icon
Kino and Juana walk to the beach, in the direction of their canoe. Kino had inherited... (full context)
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
On Kino’s blanket, Juana sets down Coyotito, who’s calmed but still swollen. Juana treats his sting with... (full context)
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
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 mind is “as unsubstantial... (full context)
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Value and Wealth Theme Icon
Kino and Juana take off in the canoe, and look down at the oyster bed, which,... (full context)
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Kino dives into the water with his basket. Filling it with oysters, he hears in his... (full context)
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Nature Theme Icon
Young and able, Kino stays for a long time underwater, carefully selecting the largest and most promising oysters. (full context)
Value and Wealth Theme Icon
Nature Theme Icon
He finds one oyster lying alone, with a partly opened shell, revealing a gleam within. Kino’s heart beats excitedly and he hears loudly the Song of the Pearl. (full context)
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Kino reaches the water’s surface and places that final oyster at the bottom of the canoe.... (full context)
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When it comes time to open the promising oyster, Kino hesitates, afraid its glint was an illusion, but Juana encourages him. (full context)
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Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Value and Wealth Theme Icon
Kino hears the Song of the Pearl that Might Be resonant and warm and sees dream... (full context)
Value and Wealth Theme Icon
...to check on Coyotito and finds that the swelling of his shoulder has gone down. Kino clenches the pearl and howls. (full context)
Community Theme Icon
Men in neighboring canoes paddle quickly toward Kino’s. (full context)
Chapter 3
Community Theme Icon
...It takes, therefore, no time at all for everyone in the town to learn that Kino has found "the Pearl of the World." (full context)
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Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Value and Wealth Theme Icon
When the doctor hears of Kino’s pearl, he openly declares that Kino is his client and that he is treating Kino’s... (full context)
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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 more powerful than... (full context)
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Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
People in the town begin associating the pearl with their own dreams and desires. Kino, who stands in the way as the pearl’s true owner, becomes the obstacle to the... (full context)
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Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Kino and Juana, unaware of the envy that surrounds them, assume that everyone feels the joy... (full context)
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Value and Wealth Theme Icon
When Juan Tomas asks Kino what he will do as a rich man, Juana covers her excitement with her shawl... (full context)
Value and Wealth Theme Icon
Kino continues to look into the pearl, seeing new desirable forms in its translucent surface. He... (full context)
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The neighbors echo that Kino will have a rifle. (full context)
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
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Juana looks admiringly at Kino while he sees in the pearl visions of ever-grander dreams. He pictures Coyotito at a... (full context)
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Kino continues to prophesy, declaring that his son will read and write and make numbers, and... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
...of this moment and imagine how it will be remembered in years to come. If Kino accomplishes these things, they muse, it will be recalled as a moment of empowerment; if... (full context)
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Kino looks down to see that his knuckles are scabbing. (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
...to the brush house. The Father, who treats the villagers like children, enters, and reminds Kino that he is named after a “great man.” (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Kino begins to hear the song of evil, but knows not what brought it on. (full context)
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Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
The priest tells Kino that he’s heard of the pearl, and that he hopes that Kino will thank God... (full context)
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The neighbors leave to go to their own houses, and Kino stands outside, feeling alone and unprotected though hearing the Song of the Family from behind... (full context)
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Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
...the brush house, proclaiming his intention to see the baby, with his servant in tow. Kino’s eyes burn with hatred for the years of subjugation that the doctor represents. (full context)
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Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Kino replies that Coyotito is almost all better, but the doctor retorts that there often appears... (full context)
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Kino feels trapped between rage and fear, but finally lets the doctor enter. The doctor goes... (full context)
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Value and Wealth Theme Icon
When the doctor has gone, Kino wraps the pearl in a rag and hides it in the floor in the corner... (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... (full context)
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Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
...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 the baby will... (full context)
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Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Kino says that he will pay the doctor once he’s sold his pearl. The doctor feigns... (full context)
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When everyone has left, Kino listens to the sounds of the night and then reburies the pearl in a hole... (full context)
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As Kino and Juana try to fall asleep, Kino’s mind continues to work, dreaming of a learned... (full context)
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Value and Wealth Theme Icon
Kino assures Juana that he is alright, and Juana begins to make a fire and clean... (full context)
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Nature Theme Icon
Kino cleans his knife by plunging it into the earth. Morning sounds enter the house and... (full context)
Chapter 4
Community Theme Icon
...person disturbs this pattern, everyone hears about it. So, it’s quickly known by all that Kino intends to sell his pearl. (full context)
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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 under the control of a... (full context)
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...deeds and donations, and they hope that the pearl will not do bad things to Kino and his family. (full context)
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Value and Wealth Theme Icon
The importance of this day for Kino and Juana is felt very strongly. Juana dreams of a baptism for Coyotito. (full context)
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All the neighbors go, as expected, to follow Kino and Juana to the pearl dealers. (full context)
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Juana and Kino prepare to go with Coyotito, Kino tilting his hat forward to convey his serious intentions.... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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Value and Wealth Theme Icon
Kino posits that that old system was a good idea, but that it went against the... (full context)
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
The brothers resemble their ancestors and Kino uses his only defense—a stolid facial expression. (full context)
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Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Kino goes in to one particular dealer, a “jolly man” capable of laughter and sorrow. He... (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 to see the pearl, and promises the best price. Kino brings out the bag... (full context)
Value and Wealth Theme Icon
...because it is too big and clumsy. He assesses it at a mere 1000 pesos. Kino tries to defend the pearl and accuses the dealer of cheating him. The dealer, now... (full context)
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Kino feels evil swell about him, but gains strength when he looks at Juana. (full context)
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Kino grabs the pearl and cries that he’s been cheated and will go to the capital.... (full context)
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...that the dealers had spoken and plotted beforehand, but dismiss the notion. Some think that Kino has destroyed himself. Others think that Kino is brave. (full context)
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In his house, Kino mulls over the possibility of going to the capital, at first wary of the idea... (full context)
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Juan Tomas comes in and is silent for a long time, before expressing fear for Kino now that has acted against the dealers and the whole system they represent. Juan encourages... (full context)
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Kino insists that he must go, at least to give his son a chance, and proclaims... (full context)
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Kino says “Go with God” and, when Juan leaves, Kino sits observing all the sounds that... (full context)
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Kino senses something outside the house and clutches his knife as he walks outside. Juana hears... (full context)
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Juana brings Kino, half conscious, into the house and wipes off his blood. Kino reports that he could... (full context)
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Kino insists that he will defeat the evil forces, declaring himself “a man.” He confirms the... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Kino awakes in the middle of the night to see Juana arise from the bed mat,... (full context)
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Kino hisses at his wife with bared teeth, while Juana looks back with brave eyes. She... (full context)
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...body whose fingers search through his clothes for the pearl. The pearl is forced from Kino’s hand and lands upon the ground. (full context)
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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... (full context)
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Following after Kino, Juana comes across the pearl. She is considering whether she ought to try disposing of... (full context)
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Seeing that Kino has killed the other figure, Juana recognizes that she and Kino have left the life... (full context)
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Kino begins to complain of having lost the pearl, but Juana silences him by presenting it.... (full context)
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Kino instructs Juana to get Coyotito from the house while he brings the corn and prepares... (full context)
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Kino does not think to steal a neighbor’s canoe. (full context)
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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... (full context)
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Kino is afraid and then slips into Juan Tomas’s hut, pulling his family in behind him.... (full context)
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Kino tells Juan about the attacks and the murder he committed in self-defense, to which Juan... (full context)
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Kino and Juana sit in silence during the day and hear what the neighbors are saying... (full context)
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Kino says that he intends to go north and Juan informs him that men from the... (full context)
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Kino and Juana leave the house before the moon has come out. Juan calls to his... (full context)
Chapter 6
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In strong wind and under a black sky, Kino and Juana begin to follow the sandy road that leads to Loreto, the home of... (full context)
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Something ancient and animal awakens within Kino and exhilarates him. (full context)
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The moon rises and the wind has calmed. Without the wind to erase their tracks, Kino tries to follow an existing wheel rut. (full context)
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Coyotes and owls make their night noises. Evil lurks about. Kino and Juana walk all night, and Kino hears the song of the pearl and the... (full context)
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At dawn, Kino finds a clearing by the road to sleep in for a bit. While Juana nurses... (full context)
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Kino watches ants at his feet as he eats a corncake Juana has offered him. The... (full context)
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Juana and Kino discuss the likelihood of whether they are being followed. Kino is certain that they will... (full context)
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Kino declares aloud that he will have a rifle, but can see in the pearl only... (full context)
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Kino puts the pearl back and the music of evil interweaves again with the music of... (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 sits up... (full context)
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...man on a horse and two men walking close to the ground, inspecting like hounds. Kino tries to hold his breath as he recognizes these men as inland trackers, out to... (full context)
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Kino decides that he must lunge for the horseman and grab his rifle, and digs his... (full context)
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Kino backs up, considering it hopeless to cover his tracks, and suggests to Juana that maybe... (full context)
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Kino pictures the trackers coming up the mountain after them, once they find Kino and Juana’s... (full context)
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Kino tells Juana to go north to Loreto or Santa Rosia while he leads the trackers... (full context)
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Kino walks in a zig-zag to throw off the trackers, and sets out for the spot... (full context)
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Kino and Juana arrive at a little spring, with water bubbling out of the stone and... (full context)
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Kino looks down the mountain and sees the trackers scurrying up, ant-like. He estimates that they’ll... (full context)
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Kino tells Juana the plan—when the trackers follow Kino’s path uphill, Kino and Juana will go... (full context)
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Kino pictures the position of the men, and then returns to Juana and informs her that... (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... (full context)
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Kino leaps out and the gun fires. Kino digs his knife into the watchers’ neck and... (full context)
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The narrator reports that all the people of La Paz remember the moment when Kino and Juana came back to the town as the sun was setting. They walked not... (full context)
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They reach the Gulf shore, not looking towards the ruined canoe, and Kino lays down the rifle and takes out the pearl, offering it to Juana. She insists... (full context)
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Kino and Juana stand next to one another and the music of the pearl fades away. (full context)