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THE PEARL, John Steinbeck
Chapter 4


Vocabulary

The following words/phrases all come from Chapter 4. Match them with their definitions.

 

Word/Phrase

Definition

 

1

extravagant

to take a part of a living thing (e.g. some skin or a branch) and stick it onto another thing to grow

A

2

function

to stop being careful, to take a risk

B

3

graft

wasteful, spending too much

C

4

throw caution to the winds

lacking respect, mocking

D

5

self-conscious

an odd thing

E

6

vigour

tiredness, sleepiness, lack of energy

F

7

contemptuous

to work, operate, act

G

8

a curiosity

the skin on our heads

H

9

lethargy

clever, tricky

 

10

an outrage

strength, power

I

11

scalp

feeling shy

J

12

crafty

a terrible event, something very unfair

K

 

Test your Understanding

  1. This is obviously a very important chapter: Kino goes to town to sell his pearl. How does Steinbeck build up an atmosphere of suspense? (Make notes about every detail that contributes to the air of excitement/anticipation. An example has been done for you.)
      • Everyone in La Paz knows that Kino is going to sell his pearl today: shop-owners, altar-boys, nuns, beggars, little boys, pearl buyers.
      •  

  2. What important fact do we learn about the pearl buyers’ business methods?
  3.  

     

  4. Kino and Juana’s neighbours accompany them to the town – just as they accompanied them to the doctor’s in Chapter 2. What does this tell us about their community?
  5.  

     

  6. Look back at the description of the town on Page 21 ("A town is a thing like a colonial animal …") and the description on Page 42 of the neighbours coming out of their houses ("The houses belched people…"). How is a town like an animal?
  7.  

     

  8. What is your impression of the first pearl buyer? Why do you think Steinbeck includes the detail about him practising a coin trick?
  9.  

     

     

  10. Explain how the pearl buyers try to cheat Kino.
  11.  

     

     

  12. Kino’s brother, Juan Tomas, says (Page 51) "I am afraid for you." Why does he feel this way?
  13.  

     

  14. "This pearl is evil," Juana tells Kino. "Let us destroy it before it destroys us." (Page 54) What would you do in the same situation, and why?

 

 

 

Frankie Meehan