John Steinbeck

In The Pearl, by John Steinbech, evil transforms certain
humble citizens into envious savages. Evil was exhibited by the
doctor who refused to treat Coyotito because his parents had no money.

When the doctor heard of Kino and Juana\'s fortune in finding "the
pearl of the world" (722), he boasted that they were patients of his
while thinking of a better life for himself in Paris. Coyotito was
healed when the doctor finally came to their straw hut. He deceived

Kino by giving the baby a white powder that made him go into
convulsions. An hour later he came and gave Coyotito the remedy and
immediately wanted to know when he was getting paid. The evil in the
pearl had reached the heart of the doctor. The pearl\'s evil did not
restrict itself to infecting Kino\'s peers; it also affected Kino
himself. He wanted to sell the pearl and use the money to better his
family\'s standard of living. He had dreams and goals that all
depended on the pearl. When Juana wanted to destroy the pearl, Kino
beat her unmercifully:

He struck her in the face and she fell among the boulders, and
he kicked her in the side...He hissed at her like a snake and she
stared at him with wide unfrightened eyes, like a sheep before a
butcher. (742) Juana saw through the outer beauty of the pearl and
knew it would destroy them, but Kino\'s vision was blurred by the
possible prosperity the pearl brought. The malignant evil then spread
to a secret cult known only as the trackers. This corrupt band of
ruffians attacked and destroyed Kino\'s life. The very night that the
trackers learned of Kino\'s pearl, they tried to steal it. The next
night, Kino was attacked twice, which resulted in Kino committing
murder. After the final struggle of the night, Juana went back to
their home to find more baneful members of the heartless cult
rampaging through their belongings to find the pearl. The end result
was Kino and Juana\'s house going up in flames. The trackers then
committed the cardinal sin, they destroyed Kino\'s canoe:

This was an evil beyond thinking. The killing of a man was not
so evil as the killing of a boat. For a boat does not have sons, and
a boat cannot protect itself, and a wounded boat does not heal. (744)

The trackers annihilated the most important material possession that
any citizen of the community owned, "...for a man with a boat can
guarantee a woman that she will eat something. It was the bulwark
against starvation" (717). The evil invaded Kino\'s life and everyone
who knew of it.