Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Pearl: Chapter Summary 1

Kino awakes and watches the hanging box where his infant son, Coyotito, sleeps. He then watches his wife, Juana, who has also awakened and rests peacefully. Kino thinks of the Song of the Family, a traditional song of his ancestors, as the dawn comes and Juana begins to prepare breakfast. Kino’s ancestors had been great makers of songs, and everything they saw or thought had become a song. Juana sings softly to Coyotito part of the family song. Kino looks at them and thinks that “this is safety, this is warmth, this is the Whole.”

Kino sees a movement near the hanging box where Coyotito sleeps. A scorpion moves slowly down the rope supporting the box. Kino thinks of the Song of Evil, the music of the enemy, as the Song of the Family cries plaintively. Kino stands still, ready to grasp the scorpion, but Coyotito shakes the rope and the scorpion falls on him. Kino reaches to catch it, but it falls onto the baby’s shoulder and strikes. Kino grabs the scorpion and kills it as Coyotito screams in pain. Juana begins to suck the puncture to remove the poison.

Having heard the baby’s screams, Kino’s brother, Juan Tomas, and his fat wife Apolonia enter with their children. Juana orders them to find a doctor. The doctor never comes to their cluster of brush houses, so Juana decides to go to the doctor herself. The event becomes a neighborhood affair, for Juan Tomas and Apolonia accompany them and even the beggars in front of the church follow Juana as she marches toward the doctor. Kino feels weak as he approaches the doctor’s home, for the doctor is not of his race and thus believes that Kino’s people are simple animals.

Kino tells the doctor’s servant that his child was poisoned by a scorpion. The doctor is a fat man who longs for civilized living. Although the doctor is at home, he refuses to treat Coyotito unless he knows that he has money. The servant asks if Kino has money, and when he can only offer small seed pearls, the servant tells Kino that the doctor has gone out. Kino strikes the gate with his fist, splitting his knuckles.

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