So ive been thinking a lot lately about what Pearl’s place in gem society could have been, and the more I think on it, the more I’m almost sure that pearls are a servant class.
This was mainly spurred on at the start by Jasper referring to her as “a defective pearl” in The Return. Think about what you call defective, it’s not really people unless you’re being an abelist ass, and I don’t think that’s what they creators were going for with that. You refer to an object as defective, a product, something that is supposed to perform a function and isn’t doing it correctly.
My theory is that pearls are cultivated to work as servants for higher tier gems (this couples for me with the Rose is Rose Diamond theory), which explains why Pearl is so much more delicate in her movement, her speech. A gem whos designed to serve royalty would probably be graceful, elegant, neat and clean, hyper vigilant to keeping order, and quiet to go along with the atmosphere. She also makes a point to say she knew Rose the longest, which hints to a pre-existing relationship on the gem homeworld, plus she says that Rose told her everything and that she knew her best, and if studying theatre and film has taught me anything, it’s that a woman’s handmaid was often an incredibly close confidant. Even more, Pearl’s powers of projection (a service for sending messages?), her issues with “not being strong enough” and a lot of her personality can be attributed to someone who spent a lot of time in a subservient position suddenly gaining complete autonomy.
And that isn’t to say that she didn’t necessarily have it before. Rose was caring, we see that, we know that she would never treat Pearl like a servant, but that was where Pearl wanted to be. She took pride in it because Rose was, indeed, wonderful. Take the conversation in Roses’ Scabbard that I got these screencaps from. Pearl is kneeling. This isn’t a position for two people on the same grounds. She is showing respect, but also devotion. Like a knight to her queen, a servant to her master.
Rose tells Pearl “You don’t have to do this with me” which is something you’re only prompted to say if you think the person you’re talking to should feel like they do. Pearl’s societal obligation to Rose is the reason that Rose has to make sure, in this conversation, that Pearl knows exactly what she’s following her into. That they will either die, or never be able to go home, because Pearl would follow her anywhere, and to Rose, it’s only okay if she knows that she’s doing it on her own, not because she’s obligated too. And of course then there’s the last line Rose says to her
Pearl admired Rose, she idolized her, looked up to her, perhaps even loved her, but Rose could never love her back, because with all of those feelings came the attachment of their social relationship and Pearl’s need to serve her (happily, but still) that would always make them stand on uneven ground. The only reason that Rose would say that she was hers is if she literally was her Pearl.
Now that Rose is gone, Pearl for the first time in what is likely her entire life has no function. She’s not fighting for Rose anymore, she’s at most fighting for herself in Rose’s memory. She’s able to finally start searching for herself outside of the context of being Rose’s pearl, finding what she likes, what she doesn’t, experiencing chaos and emotions and life, almost like she’s new born. Everything is fascinating to her, which is why her character and her development is so fascinating to me.
Something I liked in “Space Race” is that Pearl is clearly incredulous that Steven’s spaceship would work (considering its a wooden box on wheels with stuff taped to it) but also seems genuinely interested in seeing it work to the point of being a little surprised when it started falling apart. She assumed they did their research and calculations and that it was a legit attempt at building a spaceship so even if it didn’t look good to her she was still curious to see how it worked.
like she was like “Well its pretty rudimentary and doesn’t look space-worthy at all but human tech always looks shoddy to me so maybe this is a legitimate human spacecraft.”