Quotes from The Good Earth
Well if Wang Lung is a great man, then O-lan is an even greater woman. She's running the show here, folks. O-lan is the reason Wang Lung becomes rich in the . Everything you ever wanted to know about quotes about The Good Earth, Never again would Wang Lung have to rise summer and winter at dawn to light the. 43 quotes from The Good Earth (House of Earth, #1): 'Now, five years is nothing in a man's life except when he is very young “Wang Lung sat smoking, thinking of the silver as it had lain upon the table. “It was Wang Lung's marriage day.”.
When handed a pamphlet with a picture of Jesus nailed to the cross, Wang Lung and his family marvel at it They then use the flyer to line the soles of their shoes. A Fate Worse Than Death: Most characters see the poor fool as this.
O-Lan sees the selling of a daughter into slavery as this, since that's what her parents did to her. She even tells Wang Lung that if it were up to her, she'd sooner kill her own daughters than sell them into slavery during a famine. O-Lan and Lotus were both sold into slavery when they were little girls, but because she was pretty Lotus was sold to a brothel where she was pampered but sexually abused, while O-lan was made to work because she was plain where she was regularly beaten but not sexually violated.
As wives to Wang Lung, O-lan is an excellent house-keeper and child-bearer but not beautiful enough for him, while Lotus is beautiful but barren and useless. Personality-wise, Lotus is vain and cruelwhile O-lan is humble and hard-working. Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: His eldest son is more concerned with spending money than making it, while his second son is more concerned with making money and saving it.
From the Mouths of Babes: Wang Lung tells his youngest daughter she shouldn't get her feet bound if it hurts her so much, to which she innocently replies that her mother told her she needs to have her feet bound or else her future husband won't love her "the way your father doesn't love me.
Wang Lung and his descendants. Lotus refuses to agree to be Wang Lung's concubine until he's able to guarantee he can provide the luxurious lifestyle to which she's become accustomed. Lotus and Cuckoo spend their time gossiping. While Wang Lung himself is no prize, he's not necessarily a bad guy, so much as he is a bit selfish and overly ambitious. His uncle, on the other hand, is a monster—he speaks cruelly towards both Wang Lung and his family, is implied to have eaten his own children during a famine and before his death of opium addiction, he's stated to have joined and implicitly be leading a gang that steals, kills, rapes and pillages.
After O-Lan's death, Wang Lung realizes that he took her for granted and weeps. Wang Lung assumes O-lan is slow and stupid because she doesn't speak or emote much, and so is often surprised when she displays moments of cunning, prudence, resourcefulness, insightand passion.
Wang Lung has a massive one. Wang Lung's third son is implied to be this for Pear Blossom, who can't love him back and is interested in his father because she doesn't like young men.
Wang Lung doesn't like women with unbound feet, but objects to O-lan binding their daughter's feet even though failing to do so would make her unattractive in her own future husband's eyes.
O-lan indirectly calls him out on this. Wang Lung is unhappy to learn that his daughter-in-law wants to have a wet nurse in order to keep her breasts nice and pert, fondly reminiscing the days when O-lan nursed their children. He conveniently forgets that this caused her breasts to sag as she got older, which he threw in her face when he left her bed for Lotus's. Wang Lung noticing a pattern, here?
The Good Earth Quotes
Earlier, when living on the streets during the famine, Wang Lung beat his eldest son for stealing some meat, calling the boy a thief. He later has no problem taking jewelry from a rich man who had assumed Wang Lung to be one of the violent looters he was hiding from. Nor does he mind O-lan stealing an even larger bag of jewels. Suspected of Wang Lung's aunt and uncle during a period of famine: They appear much better fed than their neighbors, and some of their children disappear and are never seen again.
The House of Hwang, which is forced to sell most of their properties to Wang Lung. It's All About Me: Wang Lung rarely thinks of anyone but himself. The few times he does he worries about whether he looks good in the eyes of other men, or whether his family makes him look bad to the neighbors. Wang Lung to variable degrees, particularly his treatment of O-Lan. Many of the characters are none too kind. Wang Lung's uncle and aunt die of an opium addiction. Invoked because Wang Lung notices their addictions and sends his sons to give them more.
Wang Lung's treatment of O-lan after he starts seeing Lotus; particularly when he makes her give him the two pearls she'd humbly asked to keep from the bag of gems she'd originally stolen that made them richand which she'd planned to make into earrings as a wedding gift for their youngest daughter, so he can give them to his mistress Lotus.
Lotus has an almost literal case when she strikes the poor fool for trying to touch her. Like Father, Like Son: Wang Lung's oldest son takes after him the most. Like Parent, Like Spouse: Wang Lung's oldest son is a lot like him, so when Wang Lung learns of his son's interest in his concubine he finds him a wife who looks just like her.
He does this by asking Lotus if she knows of anyone, and she tells him of an old client who stopped seeing her because she looked just like his young daughter.
Wang Lung and Pear Blossom. He loses sexual interest in her quickly, but enjoys her companionship. Cuckoos are birds that lay their eggs in other birds' nests and push the other eggs out in favour of their own. Cuckoo will do anything for money, and she inserts herself into Wang Lung's household to do so. Lotus flowers are beautiful but grow in dirty, muddy water. Lotus is beautiful on the surface but everything underneath is dirty and disgusting.
Pear blossoms are often used as a symbol of hope and lasting friendship. Pear Blossom becomes Wang Lung's companion who he views with affection rather than lust.
Wang Lung realizes that he, in all respects still a peasant despite his great wealth, would look like a servant next to his well-dressed son. He doesn't like this realization. Wang Lung develops some affection for his mentally handicapped daughter.
More Deadly Than the Male: While both Wang Lung's uncle and aunt extort him for money and favors after he becomes wealthy, he soon notes that his uncle usually just asks for simple pleasures and then lets him be, while his aunt keeps making incessant and increasingly unreasonable requests. Wang Lung doesn't realize how cruel and unfair he's been to O-lan all these years until she's on her deathbed, but by then it's far too late to make it up to her.
Nice to the Waiter: When Wang Lung pulls a rickshaw, he gets a generous payment from a foreigner, but he soon realizes that she doesn't know how valuable the payment she gave was.
Most characters in the narrative are not named, including all of Wang Lung's relatives and their spouses. The trials and tribulations of the novel's female characters remind readers that pre-revolution China was a scary place to be female. Men had absolute authority over their wives, concubines, and children. The social acceptability of polygyny and concubinage meant that a wife's status in the home was never secure. The absence of contraception meant that women could expect to bear large numbers of children and suffer reproductive health problems as a result.
Girls born to impoverished families could be killed as infants or sold into slavery, where a life of servitude, physical abuse, and sexual violence awaited them. Middle and upper class girls were subjected to foot binding and child marriage. It's strongly implied in the novel that O-Lan has fallen in love with Wang Lung a rarity in old fashioned arranged marriages, especially in China but Wang Lung mistakes her devotion and obedience as slowness and stupidity, and repays her years of faithful servitude—and her having given birth to several sons, especially a first-born one—by falling in love with another woman, which breaks O-Lan's spirit.
A particularly tragic example, when O-lan is implied to have killed her newborn daughter during the famine. One of the Kids: The poor fool with the twins when they're toddlers, despite nearly being an adolescent at the time, because developmentally she's at the same mental state as them.
Wang Lung has ONE moment in his life, when his children sneak into Lotus' room to get a look at her, and she screams and tries to strike them. Wang Lung openly favors his eldest son, since he's a first-born son who takes after him. His second son doesn't mind since he knows how to manipulate his dad into giving him what he wants anyway, but his third son does mind.
It goes without saying that he favors his sons over his daughters. O-lan is indeed the perfect wife to Wang Lung, but since she is not beautiful Wang Lung can't love her. Invoked by his second son for himself. After Wang Lung finds his eldest son a beautiful wife, he assumes his second son will want the same.
The kid replies that he actually wants a girl who's sensible, pretty but not so pretty as to be vain, and from a decent family but not so good a family that she's be haughty or arrogant. Confused, Wang Lung carries out his requests, and from all appearances his second son's marriage is more stable than any other man's in the family.
Wang Lung burying Ching in the family cemetery to honor a lifetime of service, despite his sons' protests. When the female slave that the family gives Wang Lung's nephew to keep him from assaulting the other girls gives birth to a girl instead of a boy, thus they are not obligated to welcome her into the family, Wang Lung gives her a decent settlement anyway. Wang Lung is kind to Poor Fool, who is ignored by almost everyone in the household.
For example, he takes delight in Poor Fool's love of sticky barley candy. O-Lan, as well as Wang Lung's third son. Wang Lung and his family start the novel as peasant farmers and end as a wealthy family. Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: O-Lan tells Wang Lung that the masters of the house where she served would frequently rape beautiful servant girls. Cuckoo recounts a story in which she hid in an urn while bandits raped and pillaged all around her. The book strongly implies that Pear Blossom experienced sexual assault at the hands of at least one man in Wang Lung's household.
She prefers the elderly Wang Lung to "cruel" young men. Screw This, I'm Outta Here! Wang Lung's third son, after he finds out about his dad's relationship with Pear Blossom, whom the book implies he was in love with. Trying to get Wang Lung's second son to part with money is like trying to get him to part with his fingers. Wang Lung arrives at Lotus's room in the brothel and piteously declares, "I do not know anything! O-Lan manages to disperse an angry, starving mob who try to steal food from the equally poor and starving Wang Lung household.
His two eldest sons. His eldest son is lusty, passionate, and a notorious spendthrift, while his second son is shrewd, calculating, and a huge miser. So Beautiful, It's a Curse: O-lan repeatedly cites how the beautiful servant girls were raped by their masters if not outright sold into prostitution.
The character of Wang Lung in The Good Earth from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes
Indeed, this was Lotus's fate. Wang Lung's nephew is no better. Wang Lung's nephew after he joins the army, as he seems to revel in a job that allows him to rape, plunder and kill without consequence. When quartered at Wang Lung's mansion, he even threatens to do the same to Wang Lung and his family unless he gives him his way in everything.
She endures a loveless marriage, famine, poverty, and other perils with a stoic attitude. Lotus, as she ages. She ends up getting fat. Take a Third Option: When Wang Lung's aunt and uncle drive the rest of the family crazy with endless extortions, his sons seriously plan to kill them and Make It Look Like an Accident.
When Wang Lung sees that they both become too lethargic to make demands when high on opium, he opts to have his sons give them as much as they want until they eventually die from it. The pretty girls are given flower names - Lotus and Pear Blossom. The Three Faces of Eve: Played extremely realistically and dramatically as part of the protagonist's moral decline.
After living for years in poverty with his devoted wife O-Lan, Wang Lung later becomes a wealthy man and uses that wealth to buy two concubines—including a former prostitute named Lotus.
He belonged to the land and he could not live with any fullness until he felt the land under his feet and followed a plow in the springtime and bore a scythen in his hand at harvest. Money and food are eaten and gone, and if there is not sun and rain in proportion, there is again hunger. After all, they have power over earth. But the girls' feet I will bind-the younger girl's feet I will bind. But O-lan returned to the beating of his clothes and when tears dropped slowly and heavily from her eyes she did not put up her hand to wiped them away; only she beat the more steadily with her wooden stick upon the clothes spread over the stone.
And he ate and drank of his love and he feasted alone and he was satisfied. But this anger now was the anger of one man against another man who steals away the loved woman, and when Wang Lung remembered that the other man was his own son, he was filled with a vomiting sickness. But the land is there after me. It is as though half of me were buried there, and now it is a different life in my house.
And he smelled the fresh smell of the fields and when he came to his own land he rejoiced in it. He had gone away from it and he had set up his house in a town and he was rich. But his roots were in his land and although he forgot it for many months together, when spring came each year he must go out on to the land.