Lesson 1: Steinbeck

Getting Started

In this unit, you will read the novella The Pearl by John Steinbeck. A novella is a book that is longer than a short story but shorter than a typical novel.

The Pearl, written in 1947, is considered a literary classic. Steinbeck's story is based on a Mexican folktale and the Parable of the Pearl of Great Price from the Bible. The novella explores the nature of man and the disastrous and evil effects that can occur when man becomes obsessed with wealth. The novel also explores the theme of racism and how oppression leads to injustice. Many of Steinbeck's novels deal with the plight of the impoverished.

Stuff You Need


Ideas to Think About

  • How do people's experiences shape and change their perspectives?

Things to Know

  • covey (n.) - a group or set of something
  • incandescence (n.) - the quality of being intensely bright or brilliant
  • almsgiver (n.) - a person who gives money or food to the poor and needy
  • subjugation (n.) - forced submission or control by others
  • consecrated (adj.) - sacred
  • clamber (v.) - to climb using both hands and feet
  • intercession (n.) - a prayer on behalf of another person
  • petulant (adj.) - unreasonably irritable


  • Extend vocabulary knowledge by learning and using new words. (LA)
  • Identify all parts of speech and types and structure of sentences. (LA)
  • Identify, use, and understand the function of different parts of speech. (LA)

Introducing the Lesson

Today your child will learn more about the life of John Steinbeck and his contributions to American literature. He will also explore some of the more challenging vocabulary words that he will find in the novel.