The Pearl: Music Essay

Music is known to be a quality in which one possesses toproduce harmony,
or to make others pleasant through messages.Authors use descriptive writing
to set the atmosphere in manystories. In the short story, “The Pearl”, John
Steinbeck usesdifferent types of music to introduce, and set the atmosphere
ofthe story. In this, music is used to introduce evil, to showfamily
lifestyle, and to show significance of the pearl. John Steinbeck shows
evil’s intrusion into Kino’s family bymeans of music. Evil is introduced
into many scenes, by itsshadows and music. Kino, being the main character,
is usuallyfirst to hear it. “Kino stepped to the doorway and looked
out…The thin dog cameto him, and threshed itself in greeting like a
wind?blown flag,and Kino looked down at it and didn’t see it. He had
brokenthrough the horizons into a cold and lonely outside. He feltalone and
unprotected, and scraping crickets and shrilling treefrogs and croaking
toads seemed to be carrying the melody ofevil.” Here Kino, hears the evil
music carried out through the eyesof nature. The baby, Coyotito, is still,
and quiet, and does notknow of the evil that is approaching. As for his
illness, it hasbeen cured when Kino first found the pearl. In time, a
little after Kino hears this evil music, the doctorarrives having already
heard about the baby’s miraculousrecovery. The doctor informs Kino of
Coyotito’s situation, andhow the illness will return. He then treats it
with a smallremedy. Kino knows Coyotito is not sick, but accepts the
doctorshelp to ensure his sons health. Already knowing the
doctor’sexpectations in payment, Kino refuses to give up his pearl. Once
the doctor leaves the house, Kino no longer hears theevil music that once
played with his ears. Following thesymptoms that the doctor assumed,
Coyotito becomes ill and lateron returns to his original state. From this
scene, one can deduce that Kino’s sense of evilcomes from music, and also
that this is the form of writing thatJohn Steinbeck uses to introduce an
evil pretense. In this scene,evil music is used as a form of descriptive
writing, as it setsthe atmosphere for the event about to take place. It
also addssuspense, as one may not know where and when the evil shallstrike.

Steinbeck tries to emphasize the fact that thisphenomenon that Kino hears
is similar to what one may consider asixth sense in modern times. Kino thus
has the ability toanticipate evil before it actually appears in the plot.

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Music within the family is portrayed by a family prayer orsong. This is
sung by most of the poor families of the village,as it has an emotional
effect on family lifestyles. “Juana sang softly an ancient song that had
only three notes andyet endless variety of interval. And this was part of
the familysong too. It was all part. Sometimes it rose to an aching
chordthat caught the throat saying this is safety, this is warmth,this is
the Whole.” At this point, Kino awakes as usual to hear sounds of thefamily
song. Here, John Steinbeck brings across the point thatKino’s family does
this on a regular basis and that they considerit similar to a ritual.

Steinbeck also stresses that the familymusic is what separates Kino’s
family from the other villagers. In this scene Kino also hears the sound of
breakfast, pigs,and wives. These are all parts of music, but all belonging
toother families in the village. The song clearly demonstrates thebond
between Kino and his family’s lives John Steinbeck uses music of the family
as a belief, similarto how we believe in God, and pray to Him. Kino’s
family singsand believes in their unity, and that if their family was to
fallapart, they would lose their point in life. The family uses theirsong
as a form of motivation, something to strive for. Kinos mainpoint in life
is to ensure a strong future for the family. The song coming from the pearl
is similar to that of evil. Theonly difference is that it gives an illusion
of good, rather thanthat of evil.

“All of these things Kino saw in the lucent pearl and he said,`We will
have new clothes’. And the music of the pearl rose likea chorus of trumpets
in his ears. Then to the lovely gray surfaceof the pearl came the little
things Kino wanted… His lips themmoved hesitantly over this?`A rifle’, he
said.`Perhaps a rifle’.” From this quote, one can notice that as the song
of the pearlcontinues, it grows stronger in Kino’s head, slowly
separatinghim from his family. John Steinbeck brings the song of the
pearlto use by changing the needs of Kino, bringing him closer toevil, as
he wants more, his greed growing stronger for not onlyhis family, but
himself. In later parts of the story, Kino statesthat he would die if he
had to give up the pearl. The song of thefamily that once held his morals
in place was gone, as the songof the pearl had worked its way through to
him. The song of the pearl is not used much throughout the story,”The
Pearl”, but is used effectively as it constructs moralbarriers that the
main character must pass, thus having it’s ownsub?plot throughout the
story. As any reader may notice, the song of the pearl slowly takesaway the
soul of the main character. It thus grants itself ashadow in the “evil
song”. Because the pearl’s music so closely resembles that of theevil
music, many cannot capture the fact on how the pearl’s musicis truly used.

Nearing end of the story, the song of the pearl is actually what prompts
kino to kill the thieves, being moredominant than the “evil song”. The
pearl’s music brings Kino toits captivity, thus proving that the music of
the pearl takes theside of evil.

All three forms of music definitely have their own unique formof
expression. Once the pearl enters the plot of the story, allthe forms of
music come into effect. “Juana watched him with worry, but she knew him and
she knew shecould help him best by being silent and by being near. And
asthough she too could hear the Song of Evil, she fought it,singing softly
the melody of the family, of the safety and warmthand wholeness of the
family.” This quote shows a great effect of the pearl’s music, evilmusic,
and the family music on Kino. He is tempted away from hismorals of the
family. Although Juanna tries to rid the evilmusic, she senses that it has
already wrapped its hands aroundKino, her husband. By using this method,
John Steinbeck compares the two types ofmusic, good and evil, to the devil
himself and the Lord, JesusChrist. Jesus, similar to Kino, is tempted by
the devils tricks,but both do not give in. Although Kino is tempted to a
furtherextent, and actually kills because of his greed, he realizes howmuch
value his family is to him, and that there is no price thatcan compensate
for the loss of his child. From the above arguments the fact that music’s
role in “ThePearl” is dominant over the plot can be proved. One can now
statethat its influence over Kino, the main character, provoked theplot,
and influenced him throughout this story. The fact thatevil music
introduced an evil sub?plot can also be stated.Another main point is that
the music of the pearl itself was”prim?evil”, and that it was disguised,
only to lead the readerto believe that the pearl brought evil to its owner.

Throughout life music has been used effectively to expressemotions. In “The
Pearl” music’s value to man kind is trulyshown, as it is well known, music
is the soul of life.


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