The Pearl: Novel Summary: Chapter 5

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Kino awakens late in the night and watches Juana go the pearl's hiding place after which she slips quietly out the door. Full of anger, Kino follows her to the shore where he stops her just as she is about to throw the pearl into the sea. Kino strikes Juana brutally in the face and then kicks her in the side after she has fallen to the ground. Throughout this ordeal Juana makes no attempt to resist. Kino takes the pearl and leaves Juana lying in the surf. On his way back to the hut, however, several assailants assault Kino. Though he pierces one of his attackers with his knife the others strike him to the ground and search Kino's pockets. Meanwhile Juana washes her bruised face in the ocean. She holds no grudge against Kino because she believes men to be half-insane and half gods and she believes she could not live without one. She accepts these differences between the sexes as the way of the world. On her way home Juana finds the pearl behind a stone where Kino dropped it during the assault and then she sees Kino and another man with a fatal gash in his throat lying on the beach. Juana realizes in an instant that their old life is irrevocably gone and that they must flee or be destroyed. While she drags the dead man into the bushes Kino comes back to consciousness and begins mourning for the loss of his pearl. Juana explains quickly that she has the pearl and that because Kino has killed a man they must leave immediately. Kino agrees that they would not receive fair treatment if the case was presented in town and they decide to flee together. Juana goes to gather Coyotito and all their available food from the hut while Kino goes to get his canoe ready for the journey.
Kino discovers that someone has knocked a hole in the bottom of his canoe - an unthinkable crime in the village. Numbed by the loss of his canoe Kino walks toward his hut but before he reaches it he sees flames leaping into the predawn sky. He encounters Juana holding Coyotito. Juana explains that she returned to the hut to find that it had been ransacked and then, as she searched the wreckage, someone had set fire to it from the outside. Kino, Juana and Coyotito slip into Juan Thomes' house before anyone sees them. Apolonia returns distraught from watching Kino's hut burn and is surprised to find them alive and in her hut. At Kino's command, however, she fetches Juan Thomes who, after hearing that Kino has killed a man, agrees to hide his brother until nightfall. Kino, Juana and Coyotito spend the day hiding in Juan Thomes' hut while Juan Thomes spreads various theories among the villagers as to where Kino might have disappeared. A fierce storm lashes the water throughout the course of the day and none of the pearl divers take their boats to sea. Under various pretences, Juan Thomes borrows food and tools, including a long knife, from his neighbors and gives them to Kino. Kino tells his brother that he and his family will go overland to the north where they believe there are cities where they can sell the pearl. Before Kino leaves he tells his brother that he cannot give up the pearl because it has become part of his soul.
This chapter chronicles the further deterioration of Kino's former life as he fights with Juana, suffers the loss of his canoe and home and is again assaulted by an unknown enemy. Thus, the process begun with the discovery of the pearl and Kino's refusals to accept the buyer's offer has now come to bloodshed.
When Kino kills his assailant the ties to his life as a member of the village are forever sundered. He is now a murderer and, though he killed in self-defense, he knows that the officials in the town will not believe his story.
Juana's attempt to throw the pearl into the sea demonstrates the depth of her conviction that the pearl, far from a source of wealth and prosperity, is actually a thing of evil. Although she is willing to defy Kino by throwing it into the sea she is equally willing to suffer his blows and accept his will as the head of the family. Significantly, it is Juana who saves the pearl, drags the dead man into the bushes, insists that they leave immediately and retrieves Coyotito from the burning hut all of which make possible the family's continued survival. Kino's attachment to the pearl is revealed in his state of helplessness when he believes it to have been stolen and his confession to his brother that it has become one with his soul.
Juan Thomes' willingness to shelter Kino and the pearl, even if only for a day indicates that he is Kino's one true friend left in the village. Aside from Juan Thomes, however, there is no reason to believe that anyone in La Paz, whether indian or not, will help Kino in his attempt to create real prosperity for his family. The destruction of Kino's canoe is an event which the narrator qualifies with the observations that "the killing of a man was not so evil as the killing of a boat" and that as a result there was "sorrow in Kino's rage, but this last thing [destruction of the canoe] had tightened him beyond breaking." The force of these statements leads the reader to understand that because of the destruction of Kino's canoe not only will the family's escape be more difficult but also their old way of life has been violated, never again to be made whole.

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