4. In 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.”
This passage from Chapter 3 describes the moment of Kino’s pivotal decision to direct all his energies toward using the pearl to obtain an education for Coyotito. Kino’s ambition constitutes an attempt to shake the foundations of his society by placing his son on a level with the natives’ European oppressors. The vehemence with which Kino reacts to his vision, as well as the hushed silence with which the neighbors hear it, is a testament to the improbable nature of Kino’s plan not only to improve his son’s lot but to break “free” of a centuries-long cycle of oppression. From this moment forward, Kino remains obsessed with his goal, which he can achieve only by making a great deal of money from his pearl. The image of Coyotito as an equal to the colonists transfixes Kino throughout the novella.