Important Quotations Explained
the town they tell the story of the great pearl—how it was found
and how it was lost again. They tell of Kino, the fisherman, and
of his wife, Juana, and of the baby, Coyotito. And because the story
has been told so often, it has taken root in every man’s mind. And,
as with all retold tales that are in people’s hearts, there are
only good and bad things and black and white things and good and
evil things and no in-between anywhere.
“If this story is a parable, perhaps everyone takes his own meaning from it and reads his own life into it. In any case, they say in the town that. . . .”
ants were busy on the ground, big black ones with shiny bodies and
the little dusty quick ants. Kino watched with the detachment of
God while a dusty ant frantically tried to escape the sand trap
an ant lion had dug for him.
He watched the ants moving, a little column of them near to his foot, and he put his foot in their path. Then the column climbed over his instep and continued on its way, and Kino left his foot there and watched them move over it.
the pearls were accidents, and the finding of one was luck, a little
pat on the back by God or the gods or both.
the pearl he saw Coyotito sitting at a little desk in a school,
just as Kino had once seen it through an open door. And Coyotito
was dressed in a jacket, and he had on a white collar and a broad
silken tie. Moreover, Coyotito was writing on a big piece of paper.
Kino looked at his neighbors fiercely. “My son will go to school,”
he said, and the neighbors were hushed. . . .
Kino’s face shone with prophecy. “My son will read and open the books, and my son will write and will know writing. And my son will make numbers, and these things will make us free because he will know—he will know and through him we will know. . . . This is what the pearl will do.”
the evils of the night were about them. The coyotes cried and laughed
in the brush, and the owls screeched and hissed over their heads.
And once some large animal lumbered away, crackling the undergrowth
as it went. And Kino gripped the handle of the big working knife
and took a sense of protection from it.
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