Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Pearl: Chapter Summary 4

In La Paz, the entire town knew that Kino was going to sell the pearl that day. Kino’s neighbors speak of what they might do with the pearl. One man says that he would give it as a present to the Pope, while another said he would buy Masses for the souls of his family for a thousand years, while another thought he would distribute it among the poor of La Paz. Everyone worries that the pearl will destroy Kino and Juana.

Before leaving to sell the pearl, Juan Tomas warns Kino and Juana to get the best price for the pearl, and tells him how their ancestors got an agent to sell their pearls, but this agent ran off with the pearls. Kino had heard the story told as a warning of punishment against those who try to leave their station. Kino and Juana, followed by neighbors, reach the offices of the pearl buyers.

The pearl dealer inspects the pearl and tells him that his pearl is like fool’s gold, for it is too large and valuable only as a curiosity. Kino cries out that it is the Pearl of the World, and no one has ever seen such a pearl. The dealer offers a thousand pesos, to which Kino says that it is worth fifty thousand and the dealer wants to cheat him. The dealer tells Kino to ask the others around him. Kino can feel the evil around him as other dealers inspect the pearl. One dealer refuses the pearl altogether, while a second dealer offers five hundred pesos. Kino tells them that he will go to the capital. The dealer offers fifteen hundred pesos, but Kino leaves with the pearl.

That night, the townspeople argue whether Kino should have accepted the money, which was still more than he would have ever seen. Kino buries the pearl again that night, and remains terrified at the world around him. Juan Tomas tell Kino that he has defied not only the pearl buyers, but also the whole structure of life, and he fears for his brother. Juan Tomas warns him that he treads on new ground. Juan Tomas reminds Kino that his friends will protect him only if they are not in danger, and tells him “Go with God” before he departs.

In the middle of the night, Kino feels a sense of evil from outside of his brush house, and he prepares to wield his knife. Kino steps outside to see if there are prowlers. Juana can hear noise from outside, so she picks up a stone and steps out of their hut. She finds Kino with blood running down his scalp and a long cut in his cheek from ear to chin. Juana once again tells Kino that the pearl is evil and they must destroy it. Kino insists that he will not be cheated, for he is a man.

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