The Pearl by John Steinbeck is a fascinating story with the age-old moral to be careful what you wish for. The novella features interesting characters, rich themes, and intense conflict to tell the story of what happens when your biggest wish comes true.
John Steinbeck The Pearl Plot Diagram The Pearl exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution
The story opens in a remote seaside village where a young family of three live: Kino, Juana, and their infant son, Coyotito. Although they are poor, the family lives a relatively happy life.
One day Coyotito is bitten by a scorpion and Kino and Juana do not have the money for treatment. So, Kino goes out in the ocean in search of a pearl.
At home Juana prays that her husband will find a pearl bigger than any other and her prayers are answered. Kino finds such a large pearl that it attracts attention from all the villagers. After Coyotito is cured, Juana and Kino end up fighting off thieves, robbers, and themselves when the greed and lust for the pearl become unbearable.
The two inevitably decide they must leave. Juana decides to go home to gather their belongings while Kino goes to ready the canoe. However, they are each met with disaster: Kino finds the canoe destroyed and Juana finds the house has been set on fire. Narrowly escaping, the family hides at Juan Tomas's house until it is safe to leave for the capital to sell the pearl.
The family leaves to travel up the mountain to get to the capital city. Kino realizes that they are being followed and he tries to create false trails for the trackers. When he finally finds the trackers he attempts to attack them. Yet, at the same moment, Coyotito and a gunshot are heard. After Kino kills the trackers and rushes back to the cave, he finds that his son has been shot.
Carrying their dead child, they emerge from the mountain back at their village, where the community silently looks on. Kino then takes the pearl and throws it as hard as he can back into the ocean.