In The Pearl, chapter 4, when Kino is trying to sell his massive pearl in the village market, it's revealed that all the pearl buyers work for one man:
It was supposed that the pearl buyers were individuals acting alone, bidding against one another for the pearls the fishermen brought in. [...] Now there was only one pearl buyer with many hands, and the men who sat in their offices and waited for Kino knew what price they would offer, how high they would bid, and what method each one would use.
After Kino refuses to sell, he is attacked, his home and canoe are destroyed, and he is followed into the mountains. I'd like to know if any of these attackers are meant to be linked to the "one pearl buyer." Does Steinbeck implicitly or explicitly make this connection anywhere in the book, or in other writings?
Put another way: is Steinbeck attempting to emphasize the corruption of the pearl monopoly (at least one attacker from there)? Or the general jealousy and hatred throughout the community (attackers working independently)?