Characters Roles In The Good Earth In The Good Earth, the Introduction states that “The Good Earth endures because It reminds, once again, that despite our differences- In language, culture, and religion- there are certain qualities that we share as humans. ” (Buck viii) The Good Earth written by Pearl S. Buck is an outstanding book that portrays people in many ways. In The Good Earth, many characters have many personalities. Some can be malevolent, some can be nice, but all of the characters have different roles to fill in the novel.

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Buck does not create characters at random, but the character she is putting In has a specific personality and role to play, In The Good Earth, there are three characters that serve as a purpose In the book- the Poor Fool who shows a moral side of Wang Lung, a concubine named Lotus that drives the plot and deepens a conflict, and the uncle, Wang Lung’s rival, shows a theme, extends a conflict, and surprises the reader. The Poor Fool shows a moral side of Wang Lung by providing him comfort and love.

Wang Lung proclaims to the Poor Fool, “Poor fool- poor little fool-” (82) While in he south, Wang Lung says to the Poor Fool, “Eat, poor fool- eat, while there Is yet that which can be eaten” (74) Buck narrates, “And it seemed to Wang Lung that he looked at O-lean for the first time in his life and he saw for the first time that she was a woman whom no man could call other than she was, a dull and common creature… ” (179) Wang Lung has pity for the Poor Fool because she Just sits there and has nothing to do. As a result, that causes Wang Lung to think of her more often than other people.

The Poor Fool serves as a bonding point between Wang Lung and her. Without the Poor Fool, Wang Lung would have no one to care about. and therefore, Wang Lung would live a bad life. On the other hand, Wang Lung’s

Page 2 Characters in The Good Earth Essay

wife, Oman, is not liked because of her big feet, and that she is a dull creature. Lotus, bought from Wang Lung as a concubine, drives a plot, and deepens a conflict because of her cheating with Wang Lung’s eldest son. When Wang Lung is choosing the concubine to buy for himself; he exclaims, “There Is a country bumpkin! ” . Wang Lung] chose three most beautiful, and out of the three he chose again and e chose one most beautiful, a small, slender thing, a body light as a bamboo… ” (187) Buck tells , “… there was his son, standing in the court, and looking down at Lotus… ” “. Wang Lung leaped forward and he fell on his son, lashing him… ” (261) Wang Lung exclaims to his eldest son, “Now get to your room and do not dare to come out of it until I am rid of you, lest I kill you! ” (262) As anyone can see, Wang Lung detests his eldest son as a result of being with Lotus.

Buck uses Lotus In the novel to show that Lotus has lust for Wang Lung’s eldest son even though Wang Lung buys her Just for himself. Buck also uses Lotus to prove women can be used as anything during that time; whether the woman is a concubine, slave, or a mistress. The uncle, Wang Lungs rival shows a theme, deepens a conflict, and drives the plot. Wang Lung explains after the Uncle perceives that he is rich, “You know I am not rich. I have the five mouths to feed now… ” “If I have a handful of silver it is because I work and my wife works, and we do not, as some do, sit Idling…

In reply “[The uncle says] Now very common and popular in China. The Uncle says “l will tell your words to the whole village! ” Wang Lung is then forced to give his Uncle some silver. (66) The Uncle says after Wang Lung forces him to move out of the house, “Drive me out if you dare” (246) The Uncle’s beard, authenticates he is a member of the red beards, a gang of bandits who rob people’s houses. The Uncle uses filial piety, but in a negative way. Instead of showing courteous back to Wang Lung, the Uncle is rude.

The Uncle knows that filial piety is vital for Wang Lung and that because he cannot avoid it, the Uncle sees this as a trend so therefore, he takes advantage of this opportunity of filial piety and uses it on Wang Lung. Ching, a friendly neighbor, and the only ‘good’ person in the novel, helps out Wang Lung by revealing a character trait. After O-lean makes the people of the town feel guilty of trying to rob Wang Lungs home, Buck describes, “One lingered, that one called Ching… ” “He would have spoken some good word of shame, for he was an honest man and only his crying child had forced him to evil. 78)

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