Saturday, 19 June 2010

I would like to share the three best answers from my students based on the recent mid-year exam. The question is on the novel 'The Pearl', which comes under Section D of Paper 2. Thanks for letting me publish your essays in my blog girls. I hope that many will benefit.

Mid Year Exam Question:

Would you recommend the novel you have studied to your friends? With close reference to the text, give reasons to support your answer.

(Lim Yee Wei- 5S1)

           The novel that I have studied in the literature component in English language is The Pearl by John Steinbeck. I would certainly recommend this novel to my friends.

           Steinbeck has provided an interesting plot with well-arranged events that caused suspension, the perfect book to attract the reader’s attention and interest to keep on reading the book and a final twist towards the end. The story begins in a peaceful morning for a happy family Kino, Juana and Coyotito. Then a scorpion stings Coyotito’s left shoulder. This incident acts as a trigger to the happenings after that in the story. The parents bring the baby to the doctor but are rejected because Kino has no means to pay for the treatment as he only has eight mishapen pearls. Then there comes the sudden fortune when Kino discovers the world’s biggest pearl as 'big as a seagull’s egg' and as 'perfect as the moon' that was the hope for the family and the people. The greed that engulfs the entire town upon hearing the news of Kino’s discovery leads to too many more misfortunes that Kino encounters later in the novel. Then the final twist is Coyotito’s death. It strikes the family hard and acts as a reminder to the family. The bond between the family strengthens when Kino and Juana decids to finally throw the pearl back to where it belongs- the sea.

          The characters in the novel also help strengthen the plot. Kino’s bravery and the strength is first revealed at the beginning of the story when he beats and stamps the scorpion which stings Coyotito into a paste with his bare hands. Juana as a traditional woman apply primitive treatment to Coyotito’s wound that is a damp poultice made of brown seaweed. Kino’s determination to keep the pearl even after the misfortunes happening despite Juana’s suggestions has brought more misfortunes to the family, forcing them to run from their home at last. Kino’s hopes from the pearl are also important. Because of his hopes from the pearl- new clothes, proper marriage with Juana in church, a harpoon made of iron, a Winchester rifle and for Coyotito to be educated- he refuses to throw the pearl back into the sea. Juana is a supportive woman who accepts her husband decisions and stays by his side, together the family go through thick and thin. The greedy people- the beggars, the doctor, the priest, the pearl buyers and the intruders also go after Kino hoping to benefit from his pearl. These are merely a few characters in the story that made it interesting.

          Lastly, Steinbeck inserts many moral values through the well-packed novel such as greed and hope. Steinbeck also draws out the readers’ thoughts throughout the novel. Readers are invited to think - is it wise for Kino to keep the pearl? Is it a mistake to have hopes? Is it his fault to be uneducated and poor? If the reader were to be in Kino’s situation, what choices will he make? Readers often find themselves struggling between these thoughts and the right and wrongs. If Kino has not found the pearl, will it be a different story? He might be going through other hardships to save his only child.

          The plot, the characters and the moral values are the main reasons why I would recommend this novel.

(Foo Wee Nee - 5S1)

          The novel that I have studied is The Pearl written by John Steinbeck. I will recommend this novel to my friends because it is an inspiring story with an interesting storyline. It shows the themes like love, hope and greed. Most importantly, I have learnt a lot of moral values from the story.

           The story taught me that as human beings, we should not be greedy over others’ good fortune. In the story, the doctor is a greedy man. He refuses to treat Kino’s son, Coyotito who is stung by a scorpion as Kino has no means to pay him. However, when Kino discovers the greatest pearl in the world and is going to be rich, he quickly pays Kino a visit and offers treatment to Coyotito. He wants the pearl from Kino after the treatment, but Kino refuses. The pearl buyers are greedy too. They collaborate to cheat Kino so that they can buy Kino’s pearl at lowest price. The greed of these people finally ruin Kino’s life. I learnt from this evidence that we should not be greedy about others’ fortunes.

          Besides that, the story taught me to be determined in life. Juana is a very determined character in the story. In order to treat her baby, Coyotito, she asks Kino to get the doctor. When the neighbors say that the doctor will not come, she decides to take Coyotito to the doctor instead even she knows that the doctor will not treat her baby because they have no money. After the second attack, Juana thinks that the pearl is evil and advises Kino to throw it back into the sea, but he refuses. Therefore, she decides to throw the pearl herself when Kino is still in bed. However she does not manage to do so as Kino stops her in time. Juana’s determination is a good example to all of us who face obstacles in life. We should be determined to overcome challenges.

          Last but not least, the story taught me to help the others who are in trouble. For instance, Kino’s brother Juan Tomas and his wife, Apolonia are very helpful towards Kino’s family. Juan Tomas often gives advise to Kino when Kino deals with problems in life. When Kino’s house is burnt down, Juan Tomas allows Kino’s family to stay in his house for a day so that they will not be discovered by the villagers. On the other hand, before Kino’s family begins their escape at night, Apolonia packed some food for them. What is more, Juan Tomas tell the villagers different stories about Kino’s family so that they can escape successfully. Juan Tomas and Apolonia are indeed very helpful. We should learn this quality from them in order to be well-liked by others.

           On the whole, I would say that 'The Pear'l is worth-reading as it is able to teach us many moral values which we can apply in our daily lives.

(Chong Shu Le -5S1)

           The novel that I have chosen is The Pearl by John Steinbeck. I will recommend this novel to my friends as it contains interesting themes, characters and moral values which attract me to read it through.

           The theme in this novel is love. Family love is shown through Coyotito and his parents, Kino and Juana. When Coyotito is stung by the poisonous scorpion, Juana is anxious and she sucks out the poison from Coyotito’s shoulder although it is dangerous. As for Kino, he rubs the scorpion to paste and stamps it until it is a fragment out of anger. They want to bring Coyotito to see doctor for treatment although they know that the doctor as the richer descendants of Spaniards, look down on them as poor Mexican Indians. Kino tries to pay for Coyotito’s treatment but he has only eight misshapen seed pearls. He hits the gate of doctor’s house angrily when he knows the doctor refuses to treat his son. Family love is also shown through Kino and his wife, Juana. When Kino kills one of the intruders, Juana drags the dead man into the shelter of the bush and revives Kino. She is willing to escape with Kino although she knows she will face many challenges. When they are tracked in the mountains, Kino who worries about Juana, asks her to hide with Coyotito as she is tired and her ankles are scratched by stones. Juana insists to stay by her husband’s side and supports all his actions. Kino takes his strength from her and kills the trackers in order to protect his family. He is willing to sacrifice himself for his family. This theme encourages me to read the story till the end.

           There are also interesting characters in the novel. The doctor as the villain in the story is rich, greedy and despicable. He lives in a stone house and his room is decorated with heavy, dark curtains and furniture. He also wears a red watered silk robe from Paris, has a silver tray with silver chocolate pot on it and a tiny- cup of Egg-shell China. He is materialistic and cruel person. When he hears about Kino get a great pearl which is as ‘big as seagull’s egg’ and as ‘perfect as the moon’, he poisons Coyotito and tried to figure out where Kino hides the pearl. He is more like a killer than a treater. So is the greedy priest who hopes Kino will pay alms for the church after knowing Kino has a great pearl. He comes to Kino’s house and reminds him to contribute to church as he is named after a great man. Kino’s brother, Juan Tomas also plays an important role to attract readers’ attention. He hides Kino and his family in his house during the fire and tells the neighbors that misfortunes befalls Kino and his family. Besides, he advises Kino to be careful not to be cheated by pearl buyers when he follows Kino to the town. When Kino fails to sell the pearl, he kindly advises Kino not to go against their way of life. He also wishes Kino good luck when Kino insists ton selling the pearl at the capital.

           There are also many moral values in this novel. We must not be greedy shown through Kino who is determined to keep the pearl to lead a bright future. He hopes to marry Juana in church, get some new clothes, a harpoon made of iron, a Winchester rifle and get education for Coyotito. But with the pearl, everyone is envy of him and tried to steal the pearl from him. After being attacked by the intruders, Juana advises Kino to throw away the evil pearl as it brings too much misfortunes to them but Kino refuses. As a result, his house is burnt down and his canoe is broken. The worst thing is that he loses his only child, Coyotito, in the fight with the trackers. The pearl may be the answer to break him out of the cycle of poverty, but it also causes his son's death. We must respect others. In the novel, the doctor who is rich and lives in big, stone house despite Kino who is poor and lives in brush houses. He refuses to treat Coyotito who is stung by scorpion.

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