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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Pearl by John Steinbeck-Free Online Plot Summary
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THE CHARACTERS (continued)

COYOTITO

Coyotito, the infant son of Kino and Juana, is a character whose purpose is to show nature in its most undeveloped form. In the struggle between nature and civilization-and between good and evil-Coyotito becomes the innocent victim of powers greater than himself.

THE DOCTOR

The village doctor seems to be the perfect villain. He is someone to blame and hate, especially when he refuses to treat Coyotito and later even makes him ill. In the doctor's system of priorities, money counts more than human life or professional pride. The doctor also represents the biased behavior of persons of Spanish descent toward the Indians of Mexico. And, on a more general level, he symbolizes the arrogance of the powerful in all societies toward the powerless.

Despite this portrait of evil, however, Steinbeck adds another dimension when he describes the doctor's memories of life in Paris. He remembers the "hard-faced" woman he lived with as being "beautiful and kind," even though she was neither. Some see this passage as evoking sympathy for the doctor by showing him as a pathetic figure. Do you agree?

JUAN TOMAS

Juan Tomas is Kino's older and wiser brother. The brothers share a simple, unaffected love that sustains Kino in some of his most difficult times. Juan Tomas is a storehouse of knowledge about the ways of the world and methods of survival, and seems to be a symbol of the collective wisdom of the Indian past. He gathers items for Kino's journey to the capital, including the knife Kino uses to kill the first tracker. He also covers for Kino in order to confuse anyone who might be tempted to pursue his brother.


THE PRIEST

The priest is an undeveloped character. Like the doctor, he appears only briefly in order to make a claim to part of the pearl. He is not a source of comfort or religious strength. The priest patronizes the Indians, yet he will take their money. He seems to stand for the general role of the Catholic Church (as a partner of the Spanish Crown) in the conquest of Mexico and the subjugation of the Indians.

THE TRACKERS

The trackers, or pursuers, symbolize human greed at its worst. They want Kino's pearl and will kill in order to get it. Steinbeck uses them to show both the greed in humans and the irony of a social system that oppresses the Indians further by making them hunt each other. (Two of the trackers are Indians like Kino.)

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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Pearl by John Steinbeck-Free Online Plot Summary
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