In The Pearl there are several characters that can be viewed as strictly good or evil; one of those characters is Kino. Kino comes from a poor family that lives on the shore of La Paz in Baja California. Kino has a wife named Juana and an infant named Coyotito. The family lived a peaceful and happy life, despite their lack of money. Furthermore, when Kino obtained "The Pearl of the World", he planed to use the money on his family and not only himself; Kino decided that he would give his son an education, give Juana a true marriage in the church, and replace his family's tattered clothes with new, more elaborate clothes. However, Kino did not always act with kindness. For example, when Kino discovered the existence of an intruder in his house he pounced and stabbed him. This act would not have been viewed as an example of evil if he had acted out of fear for his life and the lives of his family, but instead Kino attacked the intruder due to the rage and soul purpose of keeping the pearl in his possession. Also, When Kino was faced by the pressing event of outrunning trackers, selling the Pearl, and keeping his family safe, Kino acted with evil. This is true because knowing that his family's lives were at risk, Kino attacked the trackers to prevent them from gaining possession of the Pearl, and during this brawl Coyotito received the same deadly fate as the trackers. Looking back, Kino was a loving father and husband, but then once he found "The Pearl of the World", his personality changed, and he began to carry out actions that he never would have. Based on these examples Kino is portrayed as a bad character, he intended on treating not only himself but also his family with the money from the Pearl but he lets greed and rage control him, not the love for his family.
Similarly, Lennie Small, a mentally challenged migrant worker comes from a troubling past. Lennie lived with his Aunt Clara who took care of him until she sadly pasted away. Then, Lennie started to travel with George Milton who cared for him from that point on. Lennie worked at an assortment of different ranches, but always managed to cause trouble due to his enormous stature. Lennie had a tendency to collect mice and stroke their soft fur, but the mice would nip at his fingers so Lennie would crush their heads. Completely oblivious of the fact that he just killed a living thing, Lennie would continue to keep the dead carcasses of the mice in his pocket to stroke. Despite this, Lennie can be thoughtful and caring as well. For example, when confronted by Curley, the boss's son who wanted to fight, Lennie stands there helpless while being beaten, all the time remembering George's words that cautioned him not to cause trouble. While being attacked Lennie shrieks, "Make 'um let me alone George, make 'um stop!" not wanting to provoke anyone else (page 63). This act of caution shows that Lennie means well but due to his metal disability he does not always make the right decisions. Later, Lennie is tempted by Curley's wife, who places his hand on her head. Lennie who is very fond of soft things starts to rub her hair. As the wife shouts for Lennie to let go, he panics and in order to silence her snaps her neck. This is clearly an example of wrong doing, despite Lennie's innocent intentions. After the good and the bad things that Lennie has caused, the bad outweigh the good. Lennie unintentionally murdering people and animals can not compensate for these actions by attempting to stay out of trouble. Therefore, one might consider Lennie Small a bad character.
On the other hand, George Milton, a migrant worker of California, travels from ranch to ranch along side Lennie. George, who took the responsibility of caring for him after his aunt's death, assists him in his everyday life, but that was not always the case. George used to trick Lennie and tell him to do harmful things. For example, George told Lennie to jump into a pond, and Lennie not knowing how to swim jumped right in. Lennie nearly drown by the time George dragged him out. However, instead of despising George, Lennie thanked him profusely for saving his life, not remembering that George told him to jump in the first place. Even though George took up the responsibility of caring for Lennie, this act of terror contradicts the good he has done. On the contrary, George showed love and compassion by assisting Lennie in escaping Weed after Lennie caused trouble in the town. This selfless act shows George's compassion towards Lennie even though he was not obligated to do so. Next, when George was faced with the event of Lennie murdering Curley's wife, he acted with utmost responsibility. George told Lennie to face outward, toward the pond as he drew a pistol. George then told Lennie that he was never mad at him and that he was sorry; then he pulled the trigger. George acted with love and compassion in those moments, because he knew that if he did not pull the trigger and end Lennie's life in a brief moment, that Curley and Carlson would put a bullet in his gut; which would be much more painful than a bullet to the back of the head. George did this because it was best for Lennie. He did not mean to give Lennie pain or misery, and put him out in the most humane way possible and with the best intentions. So, based on all of George's actions he is a good character.Even though he lead Lennie into harmful situations in the beginning, George changed his attitude towards Lennie, and his personality as a whole.
In both John Steinbeck's The Pearl and Of Mice and Men, Kino, Lennie, and George are neither heroes nor villains, however they can be identified as good or evil characters. This shows that not everyone is a hero, but on the contrary they are not necessarily villains either. Some people make bad decisions, but doing so does not make them a villain; it just suggests that that person acted with wickedness in that moment. However, in Steinboks novellas The Pearl and Of Mice and Men, that statement is disproved.