Christian Characterism In The Pearl, By John Steinbeck

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Critically acclaimed, with over thirty novels and novellas to his name, John Steinbeck wrote in a socialist style about common pedestrians trying to make a living during the Great Depression. All of his novels contain elements of Steinbeck’s personal life and struggles, including his undeniable lack of Christian faith. While he knew about Christian ideology, was antiquated with the human condition, and even dedicated several of the themes of his books to it, he showed increasing dedication to a more naturalistic viewpoint. Many scenes and metaphors contained in his novel The Pearl pertain to nature and its malevolent qualities. Even though he does not believe in Christianity, he does include religious characters, mostly for satirical effect, as is the fact in The Pearl. Steinbeck presents this character, known only as “the priest”, as a well-meaning individual, however Steinbeck, and therefore the priest, invests his trust in an organization, not God. Included in The Pearl is the character of the priest, who conveys his main role in two scenes, after which he does not make an appearance. Before the reader even meets the priest, poor beggars introduce the concept of the church, which is an integral part of the community, only because of the gossip that circulates about people’s confessions, not because of any spiritual revival. Who would be responsible for the fact that no one would actually go to the church out of obligation, but to hear the latest gossip? It would be
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