The Pearl

The doctor Character Analysis

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, and malevolent, and cares only about his own wealth and pleasure. He lives alone (his wife is dead) and lies in bed all day, eating candies and chocolate. When he is first asked to care for Coyotito, he refuses and cruelly proclaims that he is not a “veterinarian.” As soon as he hears of Kino’s pearl, however, he falsely claims that he always intended to treat the baby. It is not clear, then, whether the treatment he uses on Coyotito is effective, or if he just manipulates Coyotito’s condition to worsen and then improve, making himself look good. All he cares about is getting Kino’s pearl and it can be assumed, given that he watches Kino’s eyes so closely to see if they indicate the pearl’s location, that he is responsible for at least one of the violent nighttime theft attempts in Kino's house.

The doctor Quotes in The Pearl

The The Pearl quotes below are all either spoken by The doctor or refer to The doctor. 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.
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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 3 Quotes

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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

[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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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The doctor Character Timeline in The Pearl

The timeline below shows where the character The doctor appears in The Pearl. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Community Theme Icon
Just as Kino is admiring her fortitude, Juana demands that the doctor be gotten. (full context)
Community Theme Icon
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Her request, both wonderful and surprising (because the doctor never visits their neighborhood), spreads quickly through the neighbors. When word gets back that the... (full context)
Community Theme Icon
Value and Wealth Theme Icon
...there, who 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... (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.... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Value and Wealth Theme Icon
The Doctor , fleshy and stout, is in his bed, drinking chocolate in a Parisian dressing gown... (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... (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... (full context)
Chapter 3
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
The doctor arrives at the brush house, proclaiming his intention to see the baby, with his servant... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Kino replies that Coyotito is almost all better, but the doctor retorts that there often appears an improvement before a worsening. He shows his doctor’s bag,... (full context)
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Kino feels 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... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
The doctor feeds Coyotito a capsule with white powder and gelatin, predicts that the poison will attack... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Value and Wealth Theme Icon
When the doctor has gone, Kino wraps the pearl in a rag and hides it in the floor... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...Kino to show him Coyotito’s stomach spasms and flushed face, which convince the couple that the doctor knew what he was talking about. The neighbors gather when they hear of the sickness. (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
The doctor returns and declares that he is able to defeat the effect of the poison. He... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Race, Tradition, and Oppression Theme Icon
Kino says that he will pay the doctor once he’s sold his pearl. The doctor feigns to not have heard about the pearl,... (full context)