May 11, 2015
The Pearl and Of Mice and Men Comparative Essay
John Steinbeck is the author of the novels The Pearl and Of Mice and Men. In The Pearl, Kino, a poor fisherman finds "The Pearl of the World." Kino has to overcome the greed that the pearl contains, or it may destroy his family. In Of Mice and Men, Lennie and George have dreams of owning their own farm, but they cannot afford this "dream farm," so they need to work to earn money to buy it. John Steinbeck's writing style of using metaphors and foreshadowing is reflected in these two novels and this is one of the reasons why these two books have very similar characters and themes.
In the stories, Juan Tomas and Slim both play similar roles. They both do a good job of supporting or helping others. Juan Tomas, the brother of Kino, helps Kino make important decisions. For example, when Kino attempts to sell the pearl, Juan advices him about who would, and would not, be appropriate buyers. Slim, the respected leader of the mule team, allies with George and Lennie early in Of Mice and Men. Slim protects Lennie when he gets in trouble with Curley, the boss' son. Both of these characters are also similar because, throughout the two stories, Juan Tomas and Slim provide the main characters with good advice. Juan Tomas helps Kino with the pearl, his family and other tough decisions. Also, both of them understand the problems going on in the main characters' lives. Slim understands George and Lennie's idea of the dream farm and he also supports Lennie when he gets in trouble with Curley. All of these examples show how Slim and Juan Tomas play similar roles in their separate stories.
The characters of Lennie in Of Mice and Men and Coyotito in The Pearl are complimentary in both novels. Lennie is a large man with a mental disability who acts child-like and gets into trouble with the boss' son, Curley, and his wife. Coyotito, the child of Kino and Juana, gets stung by a scorpion and thus the family needs money to help cure him. Both of these characters are very dependent on others. For example, Coyotito is a young child and depends on his parents to raise and protect him. Also, Lennie relies on George in the story because Lennie can be awkward around others with whom he is not comfortable. For that reason, George tells Lennie to stay quiet when the two are interviewing to get a job at the farm. Throughout the story, Lennie, who loves tending rabbits, repeatedly asks George if he can still tend the rabbits when they get their dream farm. George reminds Lennie that he won't be able to tend rabbits if he gets into trouble. Things come to a head when Lennie accidentally kills Curley's wife by snapping her neck because she was screaming. Lennie then runs away and is chased by the people from the farm. "If George don't want me ... I'll go away. I'll go away." (pg. 100). This quote is from Lennie and this is when he begins to realize the trouble he's gotten himself into and how his actions are impacting others. Later in the novel, George decides to kill Lennie, but George didn't want to see Lennie punished and tortured by the others. "They had walked in single file down the path, and even in the open one stayed behind the other." (pg. 4). In The Pearl, when Kino, Juana, and Coyotito are running away, they eventually discover that three people are hunting them. Kino tries to kill all three of them, but Coyotito gets killed in gruesome fashion by a bullet to the head. The child-like dependency of both Lennie and Coyotito led to their tragic deaths.
There are also many similarities between the main characters George and Kino in The Pearl and Of Mice and Men. They both make very difficult choices throughout their stories. Kino has a lot of trouble with his wife Juana and selling his pearl. Kino gets in many fights with his wife and, at the end of the story, he hits her because she tried to throw the pearl away. Kino was so attached to the pearl that at one point he preferred it to Juana and Coyotito. Similarly, George had many difficult choices to make with Lennie. Early in the book, Lennie was accused of rape by a girl in a red dress in the old town. This led George to run away with Lennie to find a new job in another town. Throughout the story, Lennie's troubles produced enemies for George and Lennie. Eventually, George decided to kill Lennie himself humanely to prevent the crowd from torturing Lennie cruelly. Earlier in the story, Candy's old dog had been shot, but not by Candy. Candy wished that he had killed his dog instead of someone else. Candy's experience helped George make his decision about Lennie. George made Lennie feel very happy by talking about the farm and this made Lennie feel comfortable and protected. In The Pearl, when Kino, Juana and Coyotito are running away from the town, they find three people hunting them. Kino thinks of killing all three of them to keep moving. Kino started running at the first enemy when he heard a gunshot. He turned around and saw his son, Coyotito, had been shot. This filled Kino with rage as he proceeded to kill all three of the people chasing them. Kino then felt tremendous guilt, so he and Juana went back to the town to get rid of the pearl because it caused very terrible things to happen to their family. George and Kino's similar traits caused people close to them to have similar endings.
John Steinbeck's writing style of using metaphors and foreshadowing is reflected in these two novels and this is one of the reasons why these two books have very similar characters and themes. The comparable character traits of George and Kino cause the deaths of people close to them, Lennie and Coyotito.
- Grant Witham 7X