The Pearl by John Steinbeck: A Book Review

pearl“For it is said that humans are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more. And this is said in disparagement, whereas it is one of the greatest talents the species has and one that has made it superior to animals that are satisfied with what they have.”
– John Steinbeck, The Pearl

I hung back a few times whether I had to give it five or four stars on account of the Goodreads members’ opinions. I was wondering why. For me, I wanted to give it 5 stars. First of all, since it is a novella, I was not expecting something unnecessary puddings to make it Pulitzer-prize winning. The story is neat and organized- suitable to John Steinback’s goal, enough to give a moral lesson that materialism brings about EVIL. I learned that he had a hard time finishing it, which is normal among writers. It could have been as great a novel as his other works. Nevertheless, he paid off. ^^

It reminded me of its excerpt we studied in high school literature. Alas, I did not take it seriously. Neverthess, its caricature, of a man holding the pearl up in the sky while floating in the sea is still marked in my memory.

It is subject to different interpretations because of the symbols Steinbeck used such as the Song of the Family, the Song of the Evil, The Pearl, and so on.

What gave me an impact was when the jewelry dealers examine the pearl whether it is valuable or not. It is up to you if you think the three jewelry dealers cheat on Kino, the protagonist. But their opinions might dwell upon your mind, for they have something to do with what the PEARL as the symbol of materialism is all about.

For me, since I read John Steinbeck’s biography in Wikipedia, the crux of this novella is that CAPITALISM is the root of evil. Do you think so? ^^

If I read his immortal novels The Grape of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, would I regret having given it 5 stars? If I had read them, in comparison, I would say they were better than this one. Since I haven’t read them yet, it is just my first reaction to this novella – amazing! ^^

Rating: 5/ 5 stars ( It is amazing.)


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