Quote 3

But the pearls were accidents, and the finding of one was luck, a little pat on the back by God or the gods or both.

This short quotation is from Chapter 2, when Kino prepares to make the dive on which he finds the Pearl of the World. The narrator contends that certain occurrences that shape human life are accidents willed by a divine power, events over which human beings have no control. It becomes clear that the discovery of pearls is a function of such seemingly arbitrary divine fate. Kino’s eventual downfall can thus be seen as not entirely his own fault. The quotation also subtly alludes to the mixed cultural background of the natives in The Pearl: they come from a culture in which people believe in more than one god but have been governed for centuries by Catholic Spaniards who have built churches in which only a single God is worshipped. As a result, the natives are spiritually somewhat ambivalent, unsure as to whether the higher power in which they believe consists of “God” or “the gods.”