The Pearl

by: John Steinbeck

Suggested Essay Topics

Writing help Suggested Essay Topics

1. How does the novella’s conclusion complete Steinbeck’s moral argument? Could the novella have ended in any other way? Is it wise of Kino to throw the pearl back into the sea, or should he have searched for another option?

2. What role does family play in The Pearl? How does the loyalty of Kino’s family members (especially Juana and Juan Tomás) affect his actions? Was Juan Tomás correct to shield Kino from the law after he had committed murder? Is Juana correct to be so submissive to him? Does either character have a choice?

3. Some critics read The Pearl as a very specific critique of the American dream of wealth and success. Is this reading plausible, or does it limit it unnecessarily? If the story is about the American dream, why is it set in a colonial Mexican society?