Compare and Constrast Essay on The Good Earth

This essay has a total of 1609 words and 14 pages.

The Good Earth


The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck, is a tale of a farmer who

rises from a commoner to a wealthy land owner. The setting

is pre-Revolutionary China, sometime in the 20th century.

The story is one of a farmer who becomes a wealthy man

through hard work while facing droughts and floods. He

becomes very rich, but forgets his true love, the earth, which

got him to where he was. The mood of the story is serious.

Droughts and floods affect the outcome of crops, which in

turn, affect the people who need them to survive. As the

story progresses, the mood changes to become more light

hearted and careless. It is typical of today's society of how

the main character becomes rich and then forgets what it

was like to be on the other side. He spends money

carelessly and neglects to remember how his life was just a

few months before. The main element of the story is

definitely character. We look through the eyes of the main

character and see how he, as a person, grows and matures.

There are many characters in the story. The first is Wang

Lung, a farmer and the main character of the story. The

author tells the story through his view of life. We see Wang

Lung at the beginning of the story as a young man, full of

energy and love for his land. He has been raised on the land

he now farms and takes great pride in maintaining it. Later in

the story, he becomes a rich man, and forgets his land,

"One's flesh and blood." As he finds out that money is not

everything and cannot by happiness, he realizes his fault and

returns to the earth. O-lan is Wang Lung's wife in the story.

She was a slave girl raised in the great House of Hwang.

Wang Lung buys her from the house, but he sees that "there

is no beauty of any kind in her face." But Wang Lung cannot

afford a beautiful wife, for he is only a farmer. O-lan is a

strong, but quite character. She bears hardships as they

come and gives Wang Lung four children. Wang Lung

seems to care for her, but she in return shows very little

emotion. She is a hard character to reach and only before

she dies, do we see the real side of O-lan. The next main

character is Lotus, a prostitute living at the tea shop in town.

During the story, Wang Lung becomes ashamed of his plain

wife. He ventures into the tea shop in town and pays for a

prostitute, Lotus. She excites him and "kept him fevered and

thirsty, even if she gave him his will of her." Wang Lung falls

in love with this woman and buys her to live in his house.

She is a woman of delicacy and elegance, the complete

opposite of O-lan, who she comes to dislike. The two live in

opposite parts of the house, which keeps them happy. Lotus

is another character who is blocked out from the reader. We

only know that she is a material person, asking for jewels

and expensive clothes and food from Wang Lung. There are

many other characters who play fairly large, but not main

parts in the story. Wang Lung has four children, three boys

and a girl. The two oldest boys become rivals later in the

story and offer Wang Lung "no peace" in his old age. The

girl, who he affectionately calls "the fool," does not speak,

but with her empty smile and sweet gaze fills Wang Lung

with intense love and sadness. Wang Lung also lives with his

father, who in his old age, sits in the sun most of the day only

calling out to be fed. The story begins on Wang Lung's

wedding day. He heads to the House of Hwang where he

buys his wife, O-lan, from the Old Mistress there. He finds

his wife plain, but a good worker and a strong-willed

person. She works beside him on his land, harvesting the

grain to sell. It is not long before she bears his first child, a

son. But after birth, she returns to the fields to finish with the

day's work. This shocked me and gave me an idea of how

strong a person she really was. Year after year, O-lan and

Wang Lung worked the fields, saving the extra money for

whenever they needed it. O-lan bore three more kids, two

sons and a daughter. Life seemed to be good for the simple

farmer, but not for long. A four year drought hit that halted

the planting and harvesting of crops. The local town suffered

tremendously and there was not "a bean or a handful of corn

to be had." This drought affected everyone. Even the rich felt

the wrath, for there was no food to buy, at any price. The

drought caused Wang Lung and his family to head south.

They ended up in a southern town where, with the little

money they had left, brought rugs to make a small house.

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