The Pearl: Top Ten Quotes

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  1. Description of the morning that begins the story: "It was a morning like other mornings and yet perfect among mornings" (4).
  2. The narrator's observation following Kino's claim that he will purchase a rifle: "For it is said that humans are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more: "And this is said in disparagement, whereas it is one of the greatest talents the species has and one that has made it superior to animals that are satisfied with what they have" (32).
  3. The Doctor to his indian servant after learning that Kino wants treatment for his son's scorpion bite: "'Have I nothing better to do than cure insect bites for 'little Indians? I am a doctor, not a veterinary'" (14).
  4.  Regarding Kino's pronouncement to the villagers that he will use the pearl to send Coyotito to school: "Kino was afraid as a man is afraid who says, 'I will,' without knowing." (34)
  5.  Juana to Kino after the first night's attacker has bloodied Kino's head: "Throw it away, Kino. Let us break it between stones. Let us bury it and forget the place. Let us throw it back into the sea. It has brought evil. Kino, my husband, it will destroy us" (50).
  6.  Kino's feelings after he refuses to sell the pearl in La Paz and travel to the capital: "He was terrified of that monster of strangeness they called the capital. It lay over the water and through the mountains, over a thousand miles, and every strange terrible mile was frightening. But Kino had lost his old world and he must clamber on to a new one" (69).
  7.  Juan Thomas to Kino after Kino refuses to sell the pearl in La Paz: "We do know that we are cheated from birth to the overcharge on our coffins. But we survive. You have not defied not the pearl buyers, but the whole structure, the whole way of life, and I am afraid for you" (70).
  8.  On why Juana would choose to accompany Kino to the city even after he has beaten her for trying to throw the pearl into the sea: "Although she [Juana] might be puzzles by these differences between man and woman, she knew them and accepted them and needed them. Of course she would follow him, there was no question of that. Sometimes the quality of woman, the reason, the caution, the sense of preseravtion, could cut through Kino's manness and save them all." (77)
  9.  Regarding Kino's feelings for his boat and the manner in which its destruction severed the last ties to his former life: "This was an evil beyond thinking. The killing of a man was not so evil as the killing of a boat. For a boat does not have sons, and a boat cannot protect itself, and a wounded boat does not heal. There was sorrow in Kino's rage, but this last thing had tightened him beyond breaking. He was an animal now, for hiding, for attacking, and he lived only to preserve himself and his family" (80).
  10.  Kino's mood as the family flees La Paz: "The music of the pearl was triumphant in Kino's head, and the quiet melody of the family underlay it, and they wove themselves into the soft padding of sandaled feet in the dusk" (91).
  11. The moment before Kino throws the pearl back into the sea: "And the pearl was ugly; it was gray like a malignant growth. And Kino heard the music of the pearl, distorted and insane" (117).

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