Lesson 3: The Pearl

Getting Started

In yesterday's reading, Kino feels shamed and powerless because he can't pay the doctor to help his son. In this lesson you will learn more about Kino's circumstances and his financial poverty; however, you will also see how Kino's life changes forever because of a discovery he makes.

Stuff You Need

  • Handy Guide to Writing by Moving Beyond the Page
  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck
  • colored pencils
  • journal

Ideas to Think About

  • What is natural human response to change?
  • How can poverty or wealth change a person's life, character, and perspective?
  • How do people's experiences shape and change their circumstances and their perspectives?

Things to Know

  • Verbs help show the reader what is happening instead of just telling the reader what is happening.
  • Vivid adjectives help the reader create images of what is being described in a piece of writing. When you use adjectives, you must be selective and effective in the adjectives you use.
  • Coordinate adjectives are two or more adjectives that describe the same noun and are separated by commas.


  • Determine the importance of literary effects on the reader/viewer/listener. (LA)
  • Draw inferences and/or conclusions. (LA)
  • Identify, use, and understand the function of verbs and adjectives in writing. (LA)

Introducing the Lesson

Today your child will read Chapter 2 and will analyze Steinbeck's use of verbs and adjectives in a descriptive passage taken from the story.
Reading and Questions
Materials: The Pearl by John Steinbeck, journal
Read Chapter 2 and then answer the questions below in complete sentences.
  1. What is the only thing of value that Kino owns? What does this tell you about Kino?
    His canoe. That he is very poor. His canoe is worth more than his home.
  2. Why do you think his canoe is so valuable?
    He needs to provide food for his family from the ocean and he needs to find the pearls that he sells to support his family.
  3. In this chapter, Steinbeck often uses phrases such as "vagueness of a dream" and "things of the imagination" and "more illusions than realities." What effect do these phrases have on the reader?
    Answers will vary but might include that they make the reader feel as if the story is somewhat of a dream or a fantasy and cause the reader to question what is real versus what is not real. The phrases highlight the spiritual elements of Kino's people and their faith in the unseen. They draw a stark difference between the lives of the villagers and their almost ethereal existence and the lives of people in the town who seem to have no spiritual guidance.