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Wealth/greed as a destructive force
Transcript of Wealth/greed as a destructive force
Greed as a Destructive Force
Much of The Pearl is about pursuing wealth and the dangers that such an endeavor brings. Because wealth is so highly valued , men make extraordinary sacrifices in its name. Such blind, irrational values can only bring destruction in this text.
By: John steinbeck
Greed Is the Root of All Evil
Kino’s investment of spiritual value in a pearl, an object of material wealth, may be misguided from the start. Juana and Juan Tomás both suspect that Kino is wrong to try to get more for the pearl than the dealers offer, and Juana tries several times to discard the pearl, believing it to be the source of her family’s troubles. This reading interprets the pearl as a symbol of destruction and corruption rather than purity.
Steinbeck paints an incredibly simplistic portrait of greed in The Pearl. It is always evil, it always corrupts, and it brings nothing but suffering. All competition in this novel is unhealthy, and everyone is motivated by self-interest, not concern for others.
Family is idealized in The Pearl – it is "warmth, safety, the Whole." Main character Kino protects his family above all else, even the self, and he does so with an almost animalistic fervor. Family is closely tied to gender roles in this text, since the duties of mother and father, husband and wife are an important part of identity.
As Kino seeks to gain wealth and status through the pearl, he transforms from a happy, contented father to a savage criminal, demonstrating the way ambition and greed destroy innocence. Kino’s desire to acquire wealth perverts the pearl’s natural beauty and good luck, transforming it from a symbol of hope to a symbol of human destruction. Furthermore, Kino’s greed leads him to behave violently toward his wife; it also leads to his son’s death and ultimately to Kino’s detachment from his cultural tradition and his society. Kino’s people seem poised for a similar destruction, as the materialism inherent in colonial capitalism implants a love of profit into the simple piety of the native people.
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