Buck moved back to America in the early 1930s and immediately began to campaign for minority and women's rights. She was a member of the NAACP and wrote numerous magazine articles on women's rights. During World War II she spoke out against American internment of Japanese residents and after the war became a target for surveillance by Senator Joseph McCarthy and the FBI. In 1949 she founded Welcome House, the first international, interracial adoption agency in the world, mostly to help Amerasian children fathered by American servicemen during wars abroad. In the late 1960s she founded the Pearl S. Buck Foundation to provide foster care for these children. She also helped to open America's mind and attitude toward mental retardation by writing The Child Who Never Grew Up about her daughter Carol in 1950.
Steinbeck wrote The Pearl based on his personal convictions, and based the story on the biblical parable of a ?pearl of great price.' In this story, a jewel for which the merchant trades everything he owns becomes the metaphor for Heaven. Everything in the merchant's earthly existence, however, becomes worthless when compared to the joys of living with God in Heaven. However, Steinbeck uses the parable as a meditation on the American dream of success. Steinbeck, who himself had risen quickly to prosperity, explores how Kino , the protagonist of The Pearl, deals with his newfound prominence in the community and riches.