John Steinbeck: The Pearl (1700 words)


Inspired by a story John Steinbeck heard during a specimen collecting voyage in the Sea of Cortez with his friend Ed Ricketts, “The Pearl” stands as one of the author's most enduring short works. A mainstay on countless middle school reading lists in the United States, this novella is a compelling parable about the perils of sudden wealth. Told in a storyteller's tone and presented as a traditional Mexican/Indian legend, “The Pearl” introduces readers to memorable characters. Its cohesive, accessible narrative is rich in metaphor and motif, and laden with teachable moments.

The central characters are somewhat changed from the original tale, in which a young boy with no family finds the pearl and envisions all the …

Citation: Donohue, Cecilia. "The Pearl". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 October 2005; last revised 17 March 2007. [, accessed 24 February 2021.]

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