Rose of Sharon’s pregnancy holds the promise of a new beginning. When she delivers a stillborn baby, that promise seems broken. But rather than slipping into despair, the family moves boldly and gracefully forward, and the novel ends on a surprising (albeit unsettling) note of hope. In the last few pages of his book, Steinbeck employs many symbols, a number of which refer directly to episodes in the Bible. The way in which Uncle John disposes of the child’s corpse recalls Moses being sent down the Nile. The image suggests that the family, like the Hebrews in Egypt, will be delivered from the slavery of its present circumstances.
Steinbeck began writing the story as a movie script  in 1944, and first published it as a short story called "The Pearl of the World" in Woman's Home Companion in December 1945.  The original publication is also sometimes listed as "The Pearl of La Paz".  He expanded it to novella length and published it under the name The Pearl by Viking Press in 1947.  As he was writing the novella version, he was frequently travelling to Mexico where the film version ,  co-written with Jack Wagner ,  was being filmed. The film was also released by RKO in 1947 as a co-promotion with the book.