Read it and philosophize while you read it and weep.“Luck, you see, brings bitter friends.”
Sometimes I have to wonder what the people who write the back blurbs of these books are thinking (or smoking). The back says "THE PEARL is a book to be read many times and cherished forever." What they're talking about, I can't imagine. If you choose to get pissed over and over again, then by all means keep reading this tragic story.
I get what Steinbeck is saying in his beautiful writing voice - to be content with what is had and to not let the lure of greed drift you too far out, lest you lose everything. It's kind of like the principle of this ridiculous short story we had to read in elementary school - I can't remember it's name, but the point of the story that the teacher and book taught irritated me then too. I get what he's saying, I just don't agree with his perspective.
What I take from this fable is that a man gets a break in luck in fortune, something he hopes for in order to save his child's life and better the life of him and his wife. People try to steal and rip from him his fortune with THEIR greed, and he stands strong and tries to fight back, refusing to bow to the injustice of thievery, deceit, and people trying to suck out the joy in others lives. It's a matter of principle to try and protect fortune that comes your way, whether through blessing or hard work or that rare stroke of genius. There is no shame in fighting back against the tides of unfairness to protect what is yours and to work toward something better.
I can't bring myself to rate something higher than 3 stars if it pissed me off with its ending, but I can respect this book because it's John freaking Steinbeck, it's a fable that's so well done it may as well define the word 'fable' in the dictionary, and because it wasn't only the alluring pull of the pearl that kept drawing me further in.
“For it is said that humans are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more. And this is said in disparagement, whereas it is one of the greatest talents the species has and one that has made it superior to animals that are satisfied with what they have.”