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The Pearl | Study Guide

John Steinbeck

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The Pearl | Characters

Character Description
Kino Kino, a strong young fisherman and pearl diver, is the novel's protagonist. He fiercely pursues the dreams that he envisions upon finding the Pearl of the World. Read More
Juana Juana, Kino's wife, is resilient and determined. She surprises the town by demanding that the doctor care for her son. Read More
Coyotito The infant Coyotito is Kino and Juana's only child. Read More
Apolonia Apolonia is Juan Tomás's obese wife. After Kino's home is burned down, she believes he has died and performs the ritualistic wailing for the family deceased.
Dead man in path When Juana goes to throw the pearl into the sea, Kino follows her, and is attacked by an unknown man who he subsequently kills. Juana drags the corpse from the path, knowing their lives are forever changed by this killing.
Doctor The doctor is a fat, greedy, lazy man who considers Kino's people animals. Perpetually discontented, the doctor is obsessed with his memories of France, which he regards as a place of "civilized living."
Doctor's servant The doctor's servant, a man of Kino's own race, speaks with the doctor when Kino goes to the doctor's house seeking treatment for Coyotito. He at first refuses to use the "old language," but when the doctor refuses, the servant uses their shared language and turns Kino away "in shame."
First pearl dealer This pearl dealer is "a ceremonious shaker of hands" who lies, saying the pearl is "only a curiosity" that no one will buy. He conspires with the other dealers to cheat Kino.
First intruder Someone comes into Kino's house in the night to steal the pearl. Kino fights him off with his knife.
Fourth pearl dealer The fourth pearl dealer is the last to appraise Kino's pearl. Saying he has a client who "likes such things," he offers Kino five hundred pesos—half what the first pearl buyer offered.
Juan Tomás Juan Tomás is Kino's elder brother. He gives Kino guidance and sanctuary in his home after Kino's home is burned down.
Priest The Catholic priest is "a graying, aging man with an old skin and a young sharp eye" who believes Kino and his people are children. When he comes to Kino's house and addresses Kino and Juana patronizingly after Kino finds the pearl, he brings the music of evil with him.
Trackers Three men track Kino and Juana as they flee La Paz toward safety. In a flurry of violence, just as one of them shoots Coyotito dead, Kino kills all three men and takes their rifle.
Second pearl dealer The second pearl dealer, a "dry and stringy" man, refuses to make any offer on Kino's pearl after calling it "a monstrosity."
Second intruder Kino awakens to realize someone is outside his house and intends to enter and steal the pearl. He engages in a knife fight with this unknown person in the darkness, becoming wounded in the process.
Third pearl dealer The third pearl dealer, "a little man with a shy soft voice," says Kino's pearl is "soft and chalky" and will soon disintegrate.
Town beggars Four town beggars live in front of the church, so they are the highest authorities on the dealings, secrets, and true character of everyone in town. The narrator uses verbal irony, calling these men "experts in financial analysis" and "endless searchers after perfect knowledge of their fellow men."
Villagers Like Kino and Juana, the other villagers are fishing people who live in brush huts. They form a dramatic chorus, presenting their opinions and judgments as they crowd around to witness and participate in the happenings related to Kino's pearl.
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