The author dexterously manoeuvres the plot of the book so that the readers can identify with the more selfish nature of the man who relish the failures of the downtrodden and even make efforts to subdue and overpower the dreams of the poor so that the rich can become richer and continue to maintain that status.
The book portrays the ‘ambitions’ of protagonist ‘Kino’ which are intrinsically linked with providing his son with education and a better life. The book shows how the simple wishes of the man, especially the ones who are poor, turn into ambitious ventures when confronted with the surreal realities of the time. The author has used the story telling mode to convey the changing moods of the protagonist and has profusely used the surreal elements to weave the magic in the ordinary life of the hero. Steinbeck, in this powerful book, has shown the irony of the pursuit of superficial material gains that blinds the man to the most important objective of life, of being happy. Through the character of Kino, author skilfully takes the readers through the experiences of day to day struggle of a poor man and shows how he develops the illusionary desires and ambitions to overcome his poverty so that he can provide a more comfortable life for his son and family. ‘But the pearls were accidents, and the finding of one was luck’ becomes the powerful motive of the protagonist to dream.
The book is a story of Kino and his wife Juana who go to the sea in search of ‘pearl of the world’ so that they can provide proper treatment for their son, who is bitten by the poisonous scorpion. They find the most coveted pearl and thereon begins the saga of the dramatic events that turn their lives upside down. Everybody in the small village is attracted to the pearl and wants a share of the riches that it represents.