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The Theme of Wealth in the Pearl

  • Date Submitted: 12/01/2011 05:26 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 74.5 
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The Theme of Wealth in The Pearl
Wealth is something that all people want. It was no different in The Pearl by John Steinbeck. Wealth is a major theme in the book. Wealth can bring a lot of good, but also can be very destructive if it is abused. The symbols, imagery, and characters all bring out how wealth can be helpful or destructive.
The animal imagery in the book shows how wealth is destructive. The animals and people start off happy in the book. However, at the first mention of potential wealth, this scene changes. People begin to act like animals. Kino throws back his head and howls like a wolf when he discovers the pearl. The use of animal imagery showed how money makes people act. Words like “hawk”, “lizard”, and “snake” were used to describe people or things that related closely to people. These descriptive words were used to describe people after the pearl was found. The greed for wealth destroyed people and caused them to act like animals as shown by the animal imagery. However, after the pearl was thrown back into the sea, the animal imagery changed again. All mentions of animals were about real animals. People were described using words that generally describe people. The animal imagery mainly supports the destructive power that wealth had.   Man turned the pearls into something evil by his greed and that is how it became destructive.
The characters also support wealth as both helpful and destructive. Kino, as the main character in the book, is one example of this. At the beginning of the book, he was mainly concerned about making a living and living with other people. However, when the possibility of wealth arose through the discovery of the pearl, he changed a lot. He realized all the good things that wealth would make possible for him. Wealth could have changed the way they lived. It would have provided Coyotito with an education. It would have bought them new clothes. Their lives would have improved a lot. In this way wealth would have been...

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