Theme Analysis of "The Good Earth" by Pearl S. Buck Essay example

1092 Words Apr 26th, 2006 5 Pages
Theme Analysis of "The Good Earth" by Pearl S. Buck

In "The Good Earth", Pearl S. Buck takes you through the life cycle of a farmer who feels an immense dependency for the land. Wang-Lung, the main character, must endure the challenges and struggles against society, the environment, and fatality in order to provide for his family and ensure his rise from poverty to wealth. Within the novel, several themes emerge. As entailed in the title, the earth is definitely the central theme in the novel. Wang-Lung's ascent from privation to riches, diligent peasant to wealthy landowner, is a direct result of countless hours meticulously tending to the land. Forming their home, feeding their bodies, and making their gods, the earth provides
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Also, when O-Lan first appears in the home, Wang-Lung's father pretends to not even notice her. A customary Chinese tradition seeming to only add on to women's suffering was the alteration in the size of their feet to the point of constant pain and the inability to walk. Foot binding was of course not only meant to satisfy men, but also to increase his social status by showing he was wealthy enough to where his courtesan did not have to work. Wang-Lung was disappointed in the fact that O-Lan's feet were not bound, as these were marks of elegance and beauty. "My mother did not bind them, since I was sold so young. But the girls' feet I will bind-the younger girl's feet I will bind." (page 122 ) Another theme is family, as family is and always has been the central unit of Chinese society. This is also the case in Wang-Lung's life, even though his family is second to his land. Very specific rules govern how relationships are ran within a family. The rules are especially restraining in comparison to other cultures; a wife is always below her husband as are children to their father, and everyone else-husbands, wives, and children are respectful to their elders. Wang-Lung gives his father the first share of food before any of the rest of his family. This opposes some wayfaring societies who will leave the elderly and simply let them die if they cannot keep up with the journey. A wife who bears

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