The Good Earth (House of Earth, #1) by Pearl S. BuckThis tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers; but they will soon meet their own downfall.
Hard times come upon Wang Lung and his family when flood and drought force them to seek work in the city. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls.
The Good Earth
Buck became famous throughout the world for her moving story of the joys and tragedies of the Chinese peasant farmer Wang Lung and his family. The novel was a best seller in the United States, and it was soon translated into more than thirty foreign languages; it has appeared in Chinese alone in at least seven different translations. The Good Earth was made into a Broadway play and a motion picture. Her international reputation was established when she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in , primarily in recognition of her masterpiece novel, The Good Earth , and two biographies of her parents, The Exile and Fighting Angel , both published in Though it may seem problematic to choose a book written by an American, rather than a work of authentic Chinese literature, to introduce American students to Chinese customs, there are several reasons for using The Good Earth. First, it is popular and many students read it anyway, so a critical discussion of it is important.
The Good Earth is a family saga centered on the figure of Wang Lung , a simple farmer in the village of Anhwei. He is a poor man who has come to marry a slave, the only wife he can afford, and for this reason he is very aware of his inferior status. The Old Mistress asks that they bring their first-born for her to see. Wang Lung agrees and departs with O-lan , now "his woman. O-lan is plain and simple, though a hard worker.
It's the all-American success story. The poor, small-town boy makes it to the big city and comes back rich. Except, you know, that Wang Lung is Chinese. And sure, he makes it to the city and gets rich, but this is no happy ending. The Good Earth , Pearl S.
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The Good Earth simultaneously manages to be both a classic and not very good. While many early readers hailed her work for its realistic descriptions of life in the Chinese countryside, critics derided The Good Earth as saccharine and simplistic. In , however, American readers flocked back to the novel after Oprah Winfrey selected it as a title for her popular book club. For my inaugural "Re-Reading" column, I decided to return to The Good Earth , the first book I ever read about China, when it was assigned in a world history course during my freshman year of high school. The novel follows the life of Wang Lung, a poor farmer in Anhui province who gradually, through both hard work and unexpected fortune, acquires more land and money than he had ever dreamed of owning. Though Wang Lung gets temporarily caught up in the trappings of wealth taking on a concubine and dressing himself in lavish silk robes , he eventually grows to re-appreciate the simple life of a hard-working farmer. I ventured back into The Good Earth expecting to be underwhelmed.
The Good Earth is a novel by Pearl S. Buck published in that dramatizes family life in a Chinese village in the early 20th century. It is the first book in a trilogy with Sons and A House Divided It was the best-selling novel in the United States in both and , won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in , and was influential in Buck's winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in Buck, who grew up in China as the daughter of missionaries, wrote the book while living in China and drew on her first-hand observation of Chinese village life. The realistic and sympathetic depiction of the farmer Wang Lung and his wife O-lan helped prepare Americans of the s to consider Chinese as allies in the coming war with Japan. The novel was included in Life Magazine's list of the outstanding books of —