The Good Earth Essay Sample

The Good Earth is a fresh by Pearl S. Buck published in 1931 and awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1932. The best-selling novel in the United States in both 1931 and 1932. it was an influential factor in Buck’s winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938. It is the first book in a trilogy that includes Sons ( 1932 ) and A House Divided ( 1935 ) . The novel of household life in a Chinese small town before World War II has been a steady favourite of all time since. In 2004. the book was returned to the best seller list when chosen by the telecasting host Oprah Winfrey for Oprah’s Book Club. [ 1 ] The novel helped fix Americans of the 1930s to see Chinese as Alliess in the coming war with Japan. [ 2 ] A Broadway phase version was produced by the Theatre Guild in 1932. written by the male parent and boy playwriting squad of Owen and Donald Davis. but it was ill received by the critics. and ran merely 56 public presentations. However. the 1937 movie. The Good Earth. which was based on the phase version. was more successful.

The narrative begins on Wang Lung’s marrying twenty-four hours and follows the rise and autumn of his lucks. The House of Hwang. a household of affluent landholders. lives in the nearby town. where Wang Lung’s future married woman. O-Lan. lives as a slave. As the House of Hwang easy declines due to opium usage. frequent disbursement. and uncontrolled adoption. Wang Lung. through his ain difficult work and the accomplishment of his married woman. O-Lan. easy earns adequate money to purchase land from the Hwang household. O-Lan delivers three boies and three girls ; the first girl becomes mentally handicapped as a consequence of terrible malnutrition brought on by dearth. Her male parent greatly pities her and calls her “Poor Fool. ” a name by which she is addressed throughout her life. O-Lan putting to deaths her 2nd girl at birth to save her the wretchedness of turning up in these difficult times. and to give the staying household a better opportunity to last. During the annihilating dearth and drouth. the household must fly to a big metropolis in the South to happen work. Wang Lung’s malignant uncle offers to purchase his ownerships and land. but for significantly less than their value. The household sells everything except the land and the house.

Wang Lung so faces the long journey South. contemplating how the household will last walking. when he discovers that the “firewagon” ( the Chinese word for the newly-built train ) takes people south for a fee. In the metropolis. O-Lan and the kids beg while Wang Lung pulls a jinrikisha. Wang Lung’s male parent begs but does non gain any money. and sits looking at the metropolis alternatively. They find themselves aliens among their more metropolitan countrymen who look different and speak in a fast speech pattern. They no longer hunger. due to the one-cent charitable repasts of jook. but still live in low poorness. Wang Lung longs to return to his land. When ground forcess approach the metropolis he can merely work at dark haling ware out of fright of being conscripted. One clip. his boy brings place stolen meat. Furious. Wang Lung throws the meat on the land. non desiring his boies to turn up as stealers. O-Lan. nevertheless. calmly picks up the meat and cooks it. When a nutrient public violence erupts. Wang Lung unwillingly joins a rabble that is plundering a rich man’s house and corners the adult male himself. who fears for his life and gives Wang Lung all his money in order to purchase his safety.

Meanwhile. his married woman finds gems in a concealment topographic point in another house. concealing them between her chests. Wang Lung uses his money to convey the household place. purchase a new ox and farm tools. and hire retainers to work the land for him. In clip. the youngest kids are born. a duplicate boy and girl. When he discovers the gems O-Lan looted from the house in the southern metropolis. Wang Lung buys the House of Hwang’s staying land. He is finally able to direct his first two boies to school ( besides apprenticing the 2nd 1 as a merchandiser ) and retains the 3rd one on the land. As Wang Lung becomes more comfortable. he buys a courtesan named Lotus. O-Lan dies. but non before witnessing her first son’s nuptials. Wang Lung and his household travel into town and rent the old House of Hwang. Wang Lung. now an old adult male. wants peace. but there are ever differences. particularly between his first and 2nd boies. and peculiarly their married womans. Wang Lung’s 3rd boy runs off to go a soldier. At the terminal of the novel. Wang Lung overhears his boies be aftering to sell the land and attempts to deter them. They say that they will make as he wishes. but smile wittingly at each other. Fictional characters

Wang Lung—a hapless. hard-working husbandman Born and raised in a little small town of Anhwei. He is the supporter of the narrative and suffers adversities. He follows ethical motives and Chinese traditions such as filial piousness and responsibility to household. Believes the land is the beginning of felicity and wealth. He subsequently becomes a really successful adult male and possesses a big secret plan of land which he buys from the House of Hwang. As his life style alterations he stops caring about his ain life and he buys a kept woman. In Pinyin. Wang’s name is written “Wang Long. ” [ 3 ] Wang is likely to be the common family name “Wang” represented by the character ?. O-Lan—first married woman. once a slave in the house of Hwang. A adult female of few words. she is simple minded but however is valuable to Wang Lung for the accomplishments she acquired antecedently. She is considered field or ugly ; her pess are non bound. She is hardworking and self-denying. Wang Lung’s father—desires grandchildren to soothe him in his old age. becomes extremely destitute and infantile as the novel progresses.

The Poor Fool—first girl and 3rd kid of O-lan and Wang Lung. whose mental disability was caused by terrible famishment during her babyhood. As the old ages go by. Wang Lung grows really fond of her. She largely sits in the Sun and twists a piece of fabric. Second Baby Girl—Killed instantly after bringing by O-Lan because the household was hungering. It is implied that a hungry Canis familiaris eats her dead organic structure. Nung En ( Eldest Son ) — as a small boy really respectful. and goes to school. is an irresponsible boy and marries the girl of the local grain merchandiser. Nung Wen ( Middle Son ) —is a responsible boy of Wang Lung but is against his father’s traditional moralss. Eldest Son’s Wife—Daughter of a grain merchandiser and a metropolis adult female who hates the in-between son’s married woman. She is brought to the house before O-Lan’s decease and is deemed proper and fit by the deceasing adult female. Her first kid is a male child. Middle Son’s Wife—A reasonably rural adult female. Hates the first son’s married woman. Her first kid is a miss. Youngest Son—Wang Lung intends for this boy to be in charge of the farm whilst his other two boies are educated. but he runs off to go a soldier.

Youngest Daughter—Twin sister of the youngest boy. betrothed to a merchant’s boy earlier due to torment from her cousin. Wang Lung’s Uncle—a sly. lazy adult male who is extremely ranked in a set of stealers known as the Redbeards and a load to Wang Lung ; becomes addicted to opium. Very fat. relies to a great extent on the tradition of younger coevalss who care for older coevalss. Uncle’s Wife—becomes a friend of Lotus ; besides becomes addicted to opium. Very fat. greedy and lazy. Uncle’s Son—Wild and lazy. leads Nung En into problem and leaves to go a soldier. Disrespectful and visits many courtesans. Ching—Wang Lung’s faithful friend and neighbour. Dies and is buried near the entryway to the household cemetery. Wang Lung plans to be buried following to him.

Lotus Flower —Much-spoiled courtesan and former cocotte. Finally becomes fat. Helps set up the eldest son’s and youngest daughter’s nuptials. In the beginning older than she appears and complains a batch. Cuckoo—Formerly a slave in the house of Hwang. Becomes madame of the “tea house” . finally becomes servant to Lotus. Hated by O-Lan because she was cruel to her in the Hwang House. Pear Blossom—Bought as a immature miss. she serves as a slave. At the terminal of the novel she becomes Wang Lung’s courtesan because she says she prefers the quiet devotedness of old work forces to the ardent passions of immature work forces. [ edit ] Chronology

The novel’s chronology is ill-defined. as it provides no expressed day of the months from which to work. There are. nevertheless. mentions to events which take topographic point in Chinese History which. if accurately placed by the writer. supply an approximative clip frame ; among these are the usage of railwaies and the Xinhai Revolution. The clip spent by the household in the South ( likely Shanghai ) following the dearth in their place of Anhui provides the best chance to come close the clip span of the novel. Railroads in China were non constructed until the terminal of the nineteenth century. with virtually no widespread development until after 1904. The lines widening from Shanghai to the North were constructed merely after 1908. The train used by Wang Lung and his household is implied to be comparatively new. which would put their going to the South around this clip. Their return. which takes topographic point shortly after the southern metropolis descends into civil pandemonium. best matches the clip of the 1911 Revolution. Accepting this as a starting point. earlier and later day of the months can be estimated harmonizing to the ages of characters and the seasonal harvest rhythms which are mentioned. If accurate. this would probably put the terminal of the novel sometime after its day of the month of publication. [ edit ] Political Influence

Some bookmans have seen The Good Earth as making understanding for China in the oncoming war with Japan. “If China had non captured the American imaginativeness. ” said one. “it might merely hold been possible to work out a more satisfactory Far Eastern policy. ” but such plants as The Good Earth. “infused with an apprehensible compassion for the agony Chinese. did small to inform Americans about their limited options in Asia. ” [ 4 ] The diplomatic historiographer Walter LaFeber. nevertheless. although he agrees that Americans grew enamored of heroic Chinese portrayed by authors such as Buck. concluded that “these positions of China did non determine U. S. policy after 1937. If they had. Americans would hold been contending in Asia long earlier 1941. ” [ 5 ] The Columbia University political scientist Andrew J. Nathan praised Hilary Spurling’s book Pearl Buck in China: Journey to The Good Earth. stating that it should travel readers to rediscover Buck’s work as a beginning of penetration into both radical China and the United States’ interactions with it. Spurling observes that Buck was the girl of American missionaries and defends the book against charges that it is merely a aggregation of racialist stereotypes. In her position. Buck delves profoundly into the lives of the Chinese hapless and opposed “religious fundamentalism. racial bias. gender subjugation. sexual repression. and favoritism against the handicapped. ”


W. John Campbell: The Book of Great Books: A Guide to 100 World Classics. Barnes & A ; Baronial Publication 2002. ISBN 978-0-7607-1061-6. pp. 284–294 ( restricted online transcript at Google Books ) Charles Hayford. “What’s So Bad About The Good Earth? . ” Education about Asia. volume 3. figure 3. winter 1998. Hilary Spurling. Burying the Boness: Pearl Buck in China. ( London: Profile. 2010. ISBN 9781861978288 ) . Published in the United States as Hilary Spurling. Pearl Buck in China: Journey to the Good Earth. ( New York: Simon & A ; Schuster. 2010. ISBN 9781416540434 ) . [ edit ] External links

A Guide to Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth – Asia for Educators ( Columbia University ) [ edit ] Notes

^ The Good Earth at Oprah’s Book Club web site
^ Mike Meyer ( March 5. 2006 ) . “Pearl of the Orient” . The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-10. ^ Mandarin Transliteration Chart
^ William L. O’Neill. A Democracy At War: America’s Fight At Home and Abroad in World War II. ( Harvard University Press. 1997 ) . p 57. ^ Walter Lafeber. The Clang: U. S. -Japanese Relationss Throughout History. ( New York ; London: Norton. 1997 ) . p. 206. ^ “Pearl Buck in China: Journey to The Good Earth” Reviewed by By Andrew J. Nathan Foreign Affairs November/December 2010 [ fell ] V T vitamin E

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction ( 1926–1950 )
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Dragon’s Teeth by Upton Sinclair ( 1943 ) Journey in the Dark by Martin Flavin ( 1944 ) A Bell for Adano by John Hersey ( 1945 ) All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren ( 1947 ) Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener ( 1948 ) Guard of Honor by James Gould Cozzens ( 1949 ) The Way West by A. B. Guthrie. Jr. ( 1950 ) Complete list ( 1918–1925 ) ( 1926–1950 ) ( 1951–1975 ) ( 1976–2000 ) ( 2001–2025 ) View page evaluations

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