The Pearl by John Steinbeck is a short story or novelette taken from a Mexican folk tale. As a popular public school reading, many are familiar with this tale of greed and honor. But on closer examination, this tragic story is really about all of us–our loves and hates, our dreams and fears, our joys and sufferings. If read and discussed with an eye toward natural law, human nature and development of character, this story has the power to teach us much.
Themes: manhood and womanhood; love; honor; greed; materialism; family; sacrifice; classes
Principle: Greed destroys people.
1- Why and how does greed destroy? Who does it destroy? How can greed be overcome?
2- Why do Kino and Juana respond differently to the pearl?
3- What symbols are used? Why are they significant? What can symbols teach us?
4- What would you do differently than Kino or Juana?
5- Could there be any other ending to this tale? Why or why not?