The Pearl Writing Prompts

Choose one of the writing prompts below to begin your open response piece. 

    1. Analyze the character of Juana or Kino. How could this character be a hero or a tragic character? Discuss his/her strengths and weaknesses.

    2. At the end of The Pearl, are Kino and Juana defeated or triumphant? Explain.

    3. In commenting on The Pearl, Steinbeck says that it is a “strange piece of work, full of curious figures. A folk tale, I hope. A black and white story like a parable...I tried to write it as folklore, to give it that set-aside, raised-up feeling that all folk stories have.” How well does Steinbeck succeed in achieving his stated purpose?

    4. How does Steinbeck combine naturalistic and symbolic elements in The Pearl? How do these additions impact the reader?

    5. The Pearl can be interpreted as social criticism. What is the social criticism in the story? Do you agree or disagree with Steinbeck’s criticism? Why or why not?

    6. Discuss the irony found between the various message of this story: the message likely to be heard by the ignorant villagers when the story is told and the written theme of Steinbeck. Why are the messages different? How do these messages relate to Steinbeck's short introduction?

    7. Choose one theme present in The Pearl and using three examples, prove that it is a valid theme. (Try to think of a theme not as a single word but as a full statement that declares a lesson or moral.)