I really, really wish I hadn t google searched foot binding after reading this book In the tradition of a beloved college professor, I give The Good Earth a subtitle which reveals of the moral stuff which fills it Ahem The Good Earth Mo Money, Mo Problems The Good Earth is packed with cautionary tales of wealth and idleness, tradition and progression, and lust Wow, the character studies one could do in this book Just things I noticed The very thing Wang Lung detested, O lan s unbound feet, actually helped him produce his wealth because she could help him with the land, and do all of the labor in the house Women with bound feet could move very little because it was excruciating to walk With wealth came idleness and a detachment from the land The antagonists of the story in the end were Wang Lung s own rich, idle sons There was very rarely ever peace in Wang Lung s house from the time he became rich to the end of the book And in the times of peace, we see that Wang Lung blatantly ignored the problems and troubles in his house Ignorance is bliss when you live with the likes of Lotus Can I get a holla back This Tells The Poignant Tale Of A Chinese Farmer And His Family In Old Agrarian China The Humble Wang Lung Glories In The Soil He Works, Nurturing The Land As It Nurtures Him And His Family Nearby, The Nobles Of The House Of Hwang Consider Themselves Above The Land And Its Workers But They Will Soon Meet Their Own DownfallHard Times Come Upon Wang Lung And His Family When Flood And Drought Force Them To Seek Work In The City The Working People Riot, Breaking Into The Homes Of The Rich And Forcing Them To Flee When Wang Lung Shows Mercy To One Noble And Is Rewarded, He Begins To Rise In The World, Even As The House Of Hwang Falls THIS BOOK IS ABOUT THE EARTH AND IT IS GOOD. Treasure of the Rubbermaids 6 Made in China The on going discoveries of priceless books and comics found in a stack of Rubbermaid containers previously stored and forgotten at my parent s house and untouched for almost 20 years Thanks to my father dumping them back on me, I now spend my spare time unearthing lost treasures from their plastic depths.I bitch about having to mow my lawn, but when I m done, I usually sit on my deck and have a few ice cold beers Then I take a hot shower and get in my car to go to the grocery store where I buy a cart full of food without giving it a second thought Chinese farmer Wang Lung I wanted to type Wang Chung there Damn you 80s spends all day doing back breaking labor in his own fields and there s still barely enough food to keep from starving His big reward is a cup of hot water in the morning with maybe a few tea leaves in it on special occasions, and he sponges himself off with hot water every couple of months whether he needs it or not So maybe I shouldn t complain about walking around behind a power mower for an hour or two a week during the summer The book begins on Wang Lung s wedding day His bride, O Lan, is a slave in the great house of his town, and they ve never met He splurges by taking a bath, buying her a couple of peaches, and getting a little pork and meat for their wedding feast which O Lan prepares For a honeymoon, they go work in the fields together This whole section made me laugh thinking about the women on those reality wedding shows like Bridezillas.Wang Lung and O Lan make a good couple They re both hard working and she soon bears him sons which is kind of important to the Chinese And she returns to the fields right after giving birth with no assistance O Lan is a dream client for an HMO Together their family will go through bad times including droughts and famine, but O Lan s steady nature and Wang Lung s farming skills eventually bring them prosperity.The one thing that sets Wang Lung apart from other farmers is his constant desire to acquire new land Part of this is pride, but Wang Lung realizes that owning good farm land is the key to providing the necessary cushion to keep from starving during bad years Plus, he genuinely loves working his crops and bringing them to harvest His fierce love of the land is the one constant in his life, but he obviously never went through a real estate crash Diversify, Wang Lung Diversify This book works on a lot of levels As a depiction of a culture that little was known about when it was published, it s fantastic I liked how Buck never comments or judges on things that are kind of horrifying like selling girls for slaves or binding their feet, but treats them as just the way things are to all the characters She just let the facts speak for themselves It s also works as a family drama with trials and tribulations worthy of a soap opera You could also read it as a plain old rags to riches success story Despite being set in a time and place so alien to me, the characters still seem very real and relatable despite the cultural differences Wang Lung doesn t seem that different from any modern American farmer I ve known I think it must be universal that farmers everywhere like to gather and shoot the shit whether it s at a Chinese tea house or a diner in Kansas.And when a successful Wang Lung experiences a mid life crisis and falls for a younger woman, you realize that it s no different from any modern guy divorcing the wife who stood by him for years It s just that the sports car hasn t been invented yet so Wang Lung can t go buy one.This is one of those classics that has an easily readable style and a compelling story that still seems fresh even though it was published over 70 years ago. The Good Earth House of Earth 1 , Pearl S BuckThe Good Earth is a novel 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 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 story begins on Wang Lung s wedding day and follows the rise and fall of his fortunes The House of Hwang, a family of wealthy landowners, lives in the nearby town, where Wang Lung s future wife, O Lan, lives as a slave However, the House of Hwang slowly declines due to opium use, frequent spending, and uncontrolled borrowing Meanwhile, Wang Lung, through his own hard work and the skill of his wife, O Lan, slowly earns enough money to buy land from the Hwang family, piece by piece O Lan delivers three sons and three daughters the first daughter becomes mentally handicapped as a result of severe malnutrition brought on by famine Her father greatly pities her and calls her Poor Fool, a name by which she is addressed throughout her life O Lan kills her second daughter at birth to spare her the misery of growing up in such hard times, and to give the remaining family a better chance to survive During the devastating famine and drought, the family must flee to a large city in the south to find work Wang Lung s malevolent uncle offers to buy his possessions and land, but for significantly less than their value The family sells everything except the land and the house Wang Lung then faces the long journey south, contemplating how the family will survive walking, when he discovers that the firewagon the Chinese word for the newly built train takes people south for a fee In the city, O Lan and the children beg while Wang Lung pulls a rickshaw Wang Lung s father begs but does not earn any money, and sits looking at the city instead They find themselves aliens among their metropolitan countrymen who look different and speak in a fast accent They no longer starve, due to the one cent charitable meals of congee, but still live in abject poverty Wang Lung longs to return to his land When armies approach the city he can only work at night hauling merchandise out of fear of being conscripted One time, his son brings home stolen meat Furious, Wang Lung throws the meat on the ground, not wanting his sons to grow up as thieves O Lan, however, calmly picks up the meat and cooks it When a food riot erupts, Wang Lung is swept up in a mob that is looting a rich man s house and corners the man himself, who fears for his life and gives Wang Lung all his money in order to buy his safety Meanwhile, his wife finds jewels in a hiding place in another house, hiding them between her breasts Wang Lung uses this money to bring the family home, buy a new ox and farm tools, and hire servants to work the land for him In time, the youngest children are born, a twin son and daughter When he discovers the jewels O Lan looted from the house in the southern city, Wang Lung buys the House of Hwang s remaining land He is eventually able to send his first two sons to school also apprenticing the second one as a merchant and retains the third one on the land As Wang Lung becomes prosperous, he buys a concubine named Lotus O Lan endures the betrayal of her husband when he takes the only jewels she had asked to keep for herself, the two pearls, so that he can make them into earrings to present to Lotus O Lan s morale suffers and she eventually dies, but not before witnessing her first son s wedding Wang Lung finally appreciates her place in his life, as he mourns her passing Lung and his family move into town and rent the old House of Hwang Wang Lung, now an old man, wants peace, but there are always disputes, especially between his first and second sons, and particularly their wives Wang Lung s third son runs away to become a soldier At the end of the novel, Wang Lung overhears his sons planning to sell the land and tries to dissuade them They say that they will do as he wishes, but smile knowingly at each other 1976 1336 364 1368 413 9649049339 1380 20 1340 1347 343 1347 1350 1371 343 1362 533 1379 1390 1385 1930 1932 1935 The story is absorbing and exquisitely written A memorable classic that is a must for any book club or readers who enjoy well written historical fiction novels The Good Earth is a novel by Pearl S Buck published in 1931 that dramatizes family life in a Chinese village in the early 20th century It is the first book in a trilogy that includes Sons and A House Divided It won the Pulitzer Prize and is considered a classic The novel is set in a timeless China and provides no exact dates although the author does provide subtle hints that the novel that it is just before the revolution This is the story of Wang Lung a poor farmer in a small village who in the opening chapters of the book marries O lan They have four children together, three boys and one girl With hard work and determination Wang Lung and to O lan he build a life for their family but not without struggles and hardship This is my second reading of this classic and when this came up as an online group read I really looked forward to re visiting this story because when I read a book like this with a reading group I tend to immerse myself in the story and get a better understanding of the novel from the discussion after reading I think the characters are beautifully imagined and the story flows from beginning to end.A novel that educates the reader about China, the Chinese people and their traditions and customs.This is a novel that can be read and re read and still the reader will never tire of its message and characters.A great discussion novel and a book sits proudly on my real life book shelf. Wang Lung on his wedding day gets up at dawn as usual, a poor Chinese farmer s son, who lives with his widowed old father, but is a very hardworking, strong, and ambitious young man, they occupy, a three room house made of dirt bricks, with a straw thatched roof After getting his ill father hot water, feeding the ox and doing the rest of the chores, Wang for the second time in the year, takes a bath secretly, with the precious water , ashamed to waste it, for such an unnecessary thing, hiding from his father this dishonorable deed Putting on his best clothes, going for a long walk later, to the Great House of Hwang, the guard at the gate mocks him, demands a bribe for entrance, everywhere laughs are heard, as the farmer travels through the large luxurious estate, with so many beautiful houses Amazingly looking objects, the bridegroom sees, never knowing of their existence, meeting O Lan, his bride, for the first time, she is a tall plain looking woman, an unwanted slave, in the great house, beaten everyday, for no apparent reason, maybe to keep strict discipline there O Lan was sold by her poor family at ten, and has worked as a slave ever since, she is about twenty years old Talking to the Old Mistress of the house, scared of her Eminence, is the awed farmer, all had been arranged by his father, bringing the bride back home, no real wedding ceremony, the old one is happy that he will be a grandfather, hopefully soon, grandsons, the only ones that count in China, in the late 19th Century The small wedding feast, just five guests, including his lazy uncle, younger brother of his father, his son the cousin also indolent and three neighbors, Wang and his woman are both virgins on their wedding night O Lan is also hard working, a fine cook, always taking care of the house, the old man , in the fields with her husband, giving birth alone, to many sons daughters also , and then the same day going back to help with the plowing Silently, without complaints, a perfect wife, if only she wasn t so bad looking Wang thinks After good harvests, buying land from the faltering House of Hwang, a famine occurs, people are starving to death, the uncle , his wife and son, are always asking for food and money, from Wang, when there is none, Wang has to decide stay and maybe die or go south , with his family, to a city where food is in abundance and abandon his land , that he loves, maybe forever, his modest dreams crushed, the desperate struggles, the backbreaking work, the scorching Sun beating down, the freezing mornings, cold to the bone, done for nothing Spellbinding story of a destitute peasant family, climbing literally from rags to riches and encountering difficulties as the new Twentieth Century arrives Can they survive the changing, callous world There is a gush of red, marvelous, and mysterious blood running through my veins I am part Chinese A race that has given me these small eyes and this yellowish complexion A race that I have associated with frugality, hard work, mass production, internet restrictions, and Jackie Chan China, I ve only been there once as a tourist when I was a bit younger And as much as I d like to think that I am familiar with the Chinese culture, I have to admit that my knowledge about that is limited and my views about them a bit stereotypical My Grandma, the real Chinese in the family, still brings Moon Cakes during the Chinese New Year and we do maintain fireworks when celebrating We also drink herbal tea at home and have this uncanny favoritism for Chinese restaurants during family get togethers Aside from that, you could say that I m really much familiar with Filipino and Western cultures So when I picked up this book, I didn t know what to expect My only assurances were that it won the Pulitzer Prize and the author is a Nobel Prize winner The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck is a beautiful and sweeping story of farmer Wang Lu and his wife O lan The Land, the man, and their bond This beautiful tale left me thirsty and craving for knowledge about this race that resides within me yet has not fully manifested itself This may sound fancy but I have to say what I feel This book made me fall in love with China, the Chinese culture, my Chinese roots And roots, if they are to bear fruits, must be kept well in the soil of the land The beauty of this sweeping tale can be understood by hearing its voice, its message It whispers an earnest plea of the oldest kind, it whispers Remember the land The land which has provided for your father, your father s father, and countless generations before him In this age of technology, internet, GMOs and fast foods, we forget the land We ignore the Good Earth that has sustained the lives of everyone before us, and lives of this generation If you sell the land it is the end And his two sons held him, one on either side, each holding his arm, and he held in his hand the warm loose earth And they soothed him and they said over and over, the elder son and the second son,Rest assured, our father, rest assured The land is not to be sold.But over the old man s head they looked at each other and smiled This book, written in the year 1931, exposes a problem that has continually been growing worse as each generation progresses Each son telling his father the land will not be sold but inwardly smiling at this statement he knows to be untrue Each son, each daughter, each generation, saying we will save this good earth But for every tree he plants, he cuts down two For every bottle she recycles, she throws out two For every plot turned into a garden, there are two plots turned into garbage dumps Each man, woman, son, daughter thinking about their self, their success apart from the land They forget that their success lies with the land They forget the Earth that has been good to them Wang Lung sat smoking, thinking of the silver as it had lain upon the table It had come out of the earth, this silver, out of the earth that he ploughed and turned and spent himself upon He took his life from the earth drop by drop by his sweat he wrung food from it and from the food, silver This book touches a lot of other social issues like Feminism, Slavery, Concubinage, Civil Wars, etc I will not discuss much of these issues and will only say in passing that a different culture enabled them to see nothing wrong with things we in modern times would consider abhorrent and terrifying Things like selling daughters, feet binding, polygamy aren t limited to China as these practices can also be found in other Asian countries But I marvel at how Mrs Buck was able to make it feel natural despite all these cultural differences She effected a normalcy on these weird practices that I didn t once think that I was unfamiliar with them This speaks of her grace and her skill as a writer She writes with a natural grace and an earnest plea I am engrossed by her writing, her message, her book The Good Earth is a timeless, moving story that depicts the sweeping changes that have occurred not only in the lives of the Chinese people during the last century, but also of everyone who has walked a part of this good earth She traces the whole cycle of life its terrors, its passions, its ambitions, its rewards Her beloved and brilliant novel is a universal tale of the destiny of mankind Out of the Land we came and into it we must go. This is almost spiritual in it s beauty and simplicity First published by Pearl Buck in 1931, this later won the Pulitzer Prize and had a significant affect on Buck s winning the Nobel Prize for literature in 1938.The author displayed her genius ability to observe and relate the cultural and day to day lives of Chinese peasants at the turn of the century This American Christian missionary told the story of a rural Chinese man and perceptively embraced vast cultural differences, while at the same time telling a story that is universal in its relevance.A wonderful book, should be on a short list of books that should be read in a lifetime.