Steinbeck's The Pearl as an Allegory for the Obama Administration

Most every American school child reads John Steinbeck's The Pearl in the seventh grade.  It's a short, seemingly  simple story, a parable,  but one that brings to mind the seven deadly sins, or at least a few of them.  I am quite certain that when I read it in the seventh grade, I did not grasp the many layers of the story or the grave and timeless implications about human foibles, frailties, or potential for moral turpitude.

The book was Steinbeck's sixteenth novel, written in 1947, after  tremendous success especially with The Grapes of Wrath and  Of Mice and Men.  He had gained a reputation as an anti-capitalist and was indeed an avowed socialist.  He had traveled to Russia numerous times and published a book about those trips.  Later though,  as a war correspondent during the Vietnam War, he shocked and angered his fellow lefties with his praise of the American troops.  Both of his sons served there.  Funny how that happens.

Reading it again, I could not help but see it as an allegory for the Obama administration.  To refresh your memory, it is a tale  about Kino, a pearl diver in a small village in Mexico.  Kino has a wife and beloved child.  One day he  finds the biggest pearl anyone in their village has ever seen, as big as a "quail egg."  Kino knows it is extraordinarily valuable and feels certain it will change his life forever by bringing him great wealth.  His desires are modest; he wants his son to learn to read and to have new clothes.  The pearl will change their lives but not in the way Kino imagines.

There is also an venal doctor and despicable pearl buyers who try to cheat Kino as they have long cheated all the pearl divers.  It is how they have kept the villagers in their place, and Steinbeck seems to suggest that it is not wise to strive to better oneself, that we should all be happy with our station.  And then there is the obligatory tragedy which my seventh grade mind had blocked completely.

Reading it now, I could not help but see Kino as representative of Obama's adoring supporters who elected him to the presidency, despite his complete lack of qualifications,  experience or even basic information about his background.  Like Kino and his pearl, they were naïve and full of hope and so glorified him. They very much wanted to see a handsome black man as their president, a symbol of the end of any and all racism in American society.   Obama was going to usher in the utopia progressives have envisioned for a century.

Obama is The Pearl, the manifestation that is going to change their lives and bring them wealth and happiness.  He is like the pearl -- dazzling and effervescent.  He reflects their dreams in his surface...the operative word being "surface."  Coyotito,  Kino's infant  son, is the American people who now must live with circumstances unanticipated and beyond our control since his election. 

Early in the book, Coyotito is stung by a scorpion.  He survives the sting, no thanks to the odious doctor who refuses to treat any of the village people who he thinks of as animals.   Later, when the doctor hears of the great pearl, he uses the child cruelly (think ObamaCare), intending to bilk Kino out of his yet-to-be realized wealth.  The doctor is the perfect incarnation of the Democratic Party as currently constituted.  He has no doubt of his own superiority and does not question his insidious plan to extract money from Kino.  He thinks nothing about taking what is not his by any means necessary; he feels entitled because he is better and smarter.  He's been to France!   Could there be a better literary version of Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, Charles Schumer, John Kerry?   Think pride, greed and wrath. 

As the story progresses, Kino suffers assaults from all sides  as nearly everyone in the village covets the pearl or believes it will benefit them as well as Kino (think envy).  He becomes almost animal-like in defense of his pearl.  Consider the barbaric  anti-Walker protesters in Wisconsin. 

In the end,  Coyotito is killed in the resulting chaos that Kino's life has become since finding the pearl.  Back to the future,  our real  world is falling apart as Obama golfs.  He mesmerizes like the pearl but by his lack of  leadership he brings nothing but hardship and turmoil to our daily lives.  Pro-Obama voters saw their hopes and aspirations reflected in his surface and believed he would change their lives.  But as anyone who looks at a current chart of our national debt or their local gas prices knows, he has made their lives worse, here there and everywhere.   Let me count the ways!

Steinbeck was vague about his ultimate message.  Did he really believe that people should not try to better themselves?  No one knows for sure.  Perhaps he thought that sudden wealth was corruptive; it often is.  Obama's supporters certainly thought voting for him would make their lives better, make the country better.  He did promise to "transform" America.  His supporters  however forgot to ask for specifics. He never honestly defined his terms. They thought they were getting JFK and got Saul Alinsky instead.

In the book, Kino returns to his village and throws the offending pearl into the sea.   If only  the American people could throw Obama back  to Chicago, Hawaii or wherever he came from and begin again, knowing what we know now.
Most every American school child reads John Steinbeck's The Pearl in the seventh grade.  It's a short, seemingly  simple story, a parable,  but one that brings to mind the seven deadly sins, or at least a few of them.  I am quite certain that when I read it in the seventh grade, I did not grasp the many layers of the story or the grave and timeless implications about human foibles, frailties, or potential for moral turpitude.

The book was Steinbeck's sixteenth novel, written in 1947, after  tremendous success especially with The Grapes of Wrath and  Of Mice and Men.  He had gained a reputation as an anti-capitalist and was indeed an avowed socialist.  He had traveled to Russia numerous times and published a book about those trips.  Later though,  as a war correspondent during the Vietnam War, he shocked and angered his fellow lefties with his praise of the American troops.  Both of his sons served there.  Funny how that happens.

Reading it again, I could not help but see it as an allegory for the Obama administration.  To refresh your memory, it is a tale  about Kino, a pearl diver in a small village in Mexico.  Kino has a wife and beloved child.  One day he  finds the biggest pearl anyone in their village has ever seen, as big as a "quail egg."  Kino knows it is extraordinarily valuable and feels certain it will change his life forever by bringing him great wealth.  His desires are modest; he wants his son to learn to read and to have new clothes.  The pearl will change their lives but not in the way Kino imagines.

There is also an venal doctor and despicable pearl buyers who try to cheat Kino as they have long cheated all the pearl divers.  It is how they have kept the villagers in their place, and Steinbeck seems to suggest that it is not wise to strive to better oneself, that we should all be happy with our station.  And then there is the obligatory tragedy which my seventh grade mind had blocked completely.

Reading it now, I could not help but see Kino as representative of Obama's adoring supporters who elected him to the presidency, despite his complete lack of qualifications,  experience or even basic information about his background.  Like Kino and his pearl, they were naïve and full of hope and so glorified him. They very much wanted to see a handsome black man as their president, a symbol of the end of any and all racism in American society.   Obama was going to usher in the utopia progressives have envisioned for a century.

Obama is The Pearl, the manifestation that is going to change their lives and bring them wealth and happiness.  He is like the pearl -- dazzling and effervescent.  He reflects their dreams in his surface...the operative word being "surface."  Coyotito,  Kino's infant  son, is the American people who now must live with circumstances unanticipated and beyond our control since his election. 

Early in the book, Coyotito is stung by a scorpion.  He survives the sting, no thanks to the odious doctor who refuses to treat any of the village people who he thinks of as animals.   Later, when the doctor hears of the great pearl, he uses the child cruelly (think ObamaCare), intending to bilk Kino out of his yet-to-be realized wealth.  The doctor is the perfect incarnation of the Democratic Party as currently constituted.  He has no doubt of his own superiority and does not question his insidious plan to extract money from Kino.  He thinks nothing about taking what is not his by any means necessary; he feels entitled because he is better and smarter.  He's been to France!   Could there be a better literary version of Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, Charles Schumer, John Kerry?   Think pride, greed and wrath. 

As the story progresses, Kino suffers assaults from all sides  as nearly everyone in the village covets the pearl or believes it will benefit them as well as Kino (think envy).  He becomes almost animal-like in defense of his pearl.  Consider the barbaric  anti-Walker protesters in Wisconsin. 

In the end,  Coyotito is killed in the resulting chaos that Kino's life has become since finding the pearl.  Back to the future,  our real  world is falling apart as Obama golfs.  He mesmerizes like the pearl but by his lack of  leadership he brings nothing but hardship and turmoil to our daily lives.  Pro-Obama voters saw their hopes and aspirations reflected in his surface and believed he would change their lives.  But as anyone who looks at a current chart of our national debt or their local gas prices knows, he has made their lives worse, here there and everywhere.   Let me count the ways!

Steinbeck was vague about his ultimate message.  Did he really believe that people should not try to better themselves?  No one knows for sure.  Perhaps he thought that sudden wealth was corruptive; it often is.  Obama's supporters certainly thought voting for him would make their lives better, make the country better.  He did promise to "transform" America.  His supporters  however forgot to ask for specifics. He never honestly defined his terms. They thought they were getting JFK and got Saul Alinsky instead.

In the book, Kino returns to his village and throws the offending pearl into the sea.   If only  the American people could throw Obama back  to Chicago, Hawaii or wherever he came from and begin again, knowing what we know now.

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