Kino’s Battle With Fate

By Cayden S., 8th Grade

August 2017

In John Steinbeck’s The Pearl Kino has a conflict with fate when he strives to rise to the status of a colonizer and the conflict is resolved when Kino throws the pearl back into the water, symbolizing that he had given up on his dream. In The Pearl, Kino wants to be closer in status to the colonizers who have made him inferior. Kino feels stuck in a cage made by the colonizers. When Kino and the village go to the Doctor’s house and get rejected, Kino “struck the gate a crushing blow with his fist. He looked down in wonder at his split knuckles and at the blood that flowed in between his fingers”(16). The gate symbolizes the barrier between the colonizers and the villagers. Kino punching the gate represents his intent to break through that hierarchy, but in the end if he tries to, he ends up hurting himself. Throughout the story, many characters like Juana and the pearl buyers represent fate. They are all try to hinder Kino in the book. At first it was Juana saying, “‘It has brought us evil. Kino, my husband, it will destroy us’. . . ‘But Kino’s face was set, and his mind and his will were set’ (50). Juana recognizes that the pearl is bringing danger to them with all of the recent attempted robberies but Kino decides to keep fighting. Kino doesn’t let anything sway him in the battle against fate. The dreams that the pearl gave him pushed him forward. “We will be married – in the church.” . . . “We will have new clothes.” . . . “A rifle,” he said. “Perhaps a rifle” (31-32). Steinbeck uses a list to convey Kino’s desire to rise to the status of a colonizer who is Christian and who has advanced weapons. But as the story goes on, Kino starts to lose more of himself and his prized possessions like his canoe, house and eventually his son. “In the surface of the pearl he saw Coyotito lying in the little cave with the top of his head shot away. And the pearl was ugly; like a malignant growth . . . And Kino drew back his arm and threw it with all of his might” (117). This is the resolution to the main conflict in the story. Kino has finally given in to fate after he loses his son and sees the pearl for what is really is. Kino and the readers learn that greed gives people tunnel vision when they seem to be so close to what they want. This focus leads to someone potentially losing that which is most valuable.