The Pearl (1947)


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The Pearl (1947)

The Pearl (1947) by John Steinback follows the life of a poor fisherman, his wife, and his child after stumbling upon a magnificent pearl stone. He seeks to use the stone to gain status and wealth, but thieves are after it. Kino, just like everybody else, desires to have a better life, whatever means that is necessary. Kino, the Indian pearl diver’s son, is bitten by a scorpion sting. He is in an anxious state, and despite this he manages to get his son medical assistance. He had hoped to have a grand wedding and get better clothes, guns, and education for his son, but none of those dreams are likely to happen. He attempts to escape but with professional hitmen after the real tragedy erupts. He eventually decides no pearl is worth the life of his dear family, so he is left with no option rather than throwing the pearl back. The story comes as a subtle warning that dreams of overnight and magical solutions to their problems.

The film The Pearl (1947) does a good job of highlighting the negative representation of indigenous people in society. Kino and his family are of Indian descent. The film illustrates how indigenous people received adverse treatment because of their low economic status and race. Kino was a poor peal swimmer and he and his family did not have much. As a matter of fact, they relied on fishing as their main source of livelihood. When Coyotito, Kino’s son, is bitten by a scorpion and is fighting for his dear life, the doctor declines to help them because Kino could not offer him money. This points to the oppression and colonial arrogance that existed at the time. People who liked the way Kino looked (Indians) were treated poorly and oppressed. The doctor displays a condescending attitude, and he shows his apparent self-centered and limited mindset. It is almost as if the doctor is frighteningly showcasing his belief in the superiority of his culture over Kino’s culture. The doctor wants to remind Kino of his power to either destroy or make lives. Steinback criticizes the doctor’s entire colonial society of greed, ambition, and arrogance. The European colonizers governing Kino and the native people are shown how they bring destruction to a native society of piety, innocence, and purity.

Undoubtedly, the Pearl makes references to numerous racial, gender, and ethnic issues using the characters. Kino is asleep when his wife Juana takes the pearl and throws the pearl into the ocean. At this point, his wife is fed up with the problems that have followed them since Kino took the pearl. She just wants to get rid of it as it has only brought them nothing but bad luck. When Kino finds out what Juana has done, he turns violent. He strikes her so that she can release the pearl, and in the process, she falls onto the rocks and plunges into the water. This clearly illustrates unequal gender roles and their link to physical abuse. In this environment, men have deemed the head of the family. As such, they were the main decision-makers. So when Kino discovered that Juana had taken it upon herself to throw away the pearl that had been the cause of their problems thus far, he must have felt violated and disregarded as the central authority in the family. This explains his sudden reaction to striking Juana when she fell into the ocean to her death. Juana was only doing what she felt was right to keep herself and her ailing son safe. This is unexpected in society as women were expected to conform and abide by norms. Physical abuse and unequal family roles are the two main core effects of gender inequality. The example depicts a case of gender inequality as Kino did not harm Juana until they say she took a step that was meant to keep her family safe. Abuse of any form is never okay and should not be tolerated at all costs in society. Additionally, the doctor saw that Kino’s son was in dire need of a doctor, yet he still refused to help them out points to a bigger racial issue than just money. When asked to help, he hurls a racist comment that he was a doctor and not a veterinary. Kino shows the doctor that he has money, but that is still not enough to convince him to treat his son. The comment he makes is racist and it only shows the real reason he refuses to treat Coyocito because of his Indian race. Kino was Indian and his kind was despised starved, and robbed at the time.

In terms of cinematography, The Pearl (1947), a Mexican American film, enjoys a beautiful black and white background. The drama is a classic, and judging by the year of pits publication, the black and white background seemed a good fit for the storyline. On the other hand, Redes, directed by Emilio Gomez Muriel and Fred Zinnermann, has a turbulent production background. Despite this, it still does a brilliant job at appeasing its audience. The sounds and shots in both films were also concise and clear, an indication of the prowess of the producers.