Kino is the main character of The Pearl by John Steinbeck.Kino often “hears” songs that represent his situation. For example if he is in danger he may hear the Song of Evil or the Song of the Enemy. The songs in this book set the theme for what has happened, what will happen, and what is happening. In The Pearl Kino hears the Song of Family, the Song of Evil, and the Song of the Pearl.
The Song of Family symbolizes the balance of Kino’s life and how content he is. It is most prevalent in The Pearl near the beginning and the end of the book. In the beginning, Kino hears it when he first wakes up and later when he is determined to get the doctor.
In Kino’s head there was a song now, clear and soft, and if he had been able to speak of it, he would have called it the Song of the Family…Juana sang softly an ancient song that had only three notes and yet endless variety of interval. And this was part of the family song too. It was all part. Sometimes it rose to an aching chord that caught the throat, saying this is safety, this is warmth, this is the Whole. Across the brush fence were other brush houses, and the smoke came from them too, and the sound of breakfast, but those were other songs, their pigs were other pigs, their wives were not Juana. (Steinbeck 2-3)
The song shows that Kino is extremely satisfied and happy with his life and family life even though it is almost the exact same as any other family who lives near them. At the end he once again hears the Song of Family when he finally relinquishes the pearl after Coyotito’s death and throws it to the sea. “In Kino’s ears the Song of the Family was as fierce as a cry. He was immune and terrible, and his song had become a battle cry…And Kino heard the music of the pearl, disto…
…m the medicine. And Kino thrust the pearl back into his clothing, and the music of the pearl had become sinister in his ears, and it was interwoven with the music of evil. (Steinbeck 71)
This shows how Kino finally views the pearl as a source of danger and evil. He now sees the Song of the Pearl to be joined to the Song of Evil. The Song of the Pearl represents greed and how it can corrupt a person.
The Song of Family, the Song of Evil, and the Song of the Pearl all represent how Kino is feeling and the current motif of the book. The Song of Family represented balance and content, the Song of Evil represented unbalance and danger, and the Song of the Pearl represented greed and what it can do to you. The songs of The Pearl are extremely important in understanding the book.
Steinbeck, John Ernst, Jr. The Pearl. 1992 ed. New York: Penguin, 1945. Print.