The Pearl

by: John Steinbeck

Chapter 4

Quotes Chapter 4
It is wonderful the way a little town keeps track of itself and of all its unit. If every single man and woman, child and baby, acts and conducts itself in a known pattern and breaks no walls and differs with no one and experiments in no way and is not sick and does not endanger the ease and peace of mind or steady unbroken flow of the town, then that unit can disappear and never be heard of. But let one man step out of the regular thought or the known and trusted pattern, and the nerves of the townspeople sing with nervousness and communication travels over the nerve lines of the town. Then every unit communicates to the whole.
The brothers, as they walked along, squinted their eyes a little, as they and their grandfathers and their great-grandfathers had done for four hundred years, since first the strangers came with argument and authority and gunpowder to back up both.
“I am cheated,” Kino cried fiercely. “My pearl is not for sale here. I will go, perhaps even to the capital.”
“But suppose they had arranged it before?” “If that is so, then all of us have been cheated all of our lives.”
Kino lay on the ground, struggling to rise, and there was no one near him. Only the shadows and the strike and rush of the waves and the hiss of distance. But the evil was all about, hidden behind the brush fence, crouched beside the house in the shadow, hovering in the air.