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The Pearl | Study Guide

John Steinbeck

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John Steinbeck

Year Published






Perspective and Narrator

The Pearl is narrated by a third-person omniscient narrator.


The Pearl is narrated in the past tense with the exception of two narrative intrusions in the present tense, which occur at the beginning and end of the story. In these shifts into the present tense, the narrator speaks directly to the reader to recount a story from the past that is at once history, legend, and parable.

About the Title

After his infant is bitten by a scorpion, poor, illiterate Mexican pearl diver Kino finds a giant pearl, from which the text takes its title. Kino and his wife, Juana, expect this "Pearl of the World" will provide them money to have their infant treated by a doctor. Not only that, they believe it will allow them to escape poverty completely. However, the pearl brings only violence, exile, and tragedy, as its great value makes Kino and his family targets for those who would steal it.


This study guide and infographic for John Steinbeck's The Pearl offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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