The Good Earth, Chapters 10-19

Hello all! Welcome back for our second week of discussion of Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth! This week we’re tackling chapters 10-19.

So, if life in the countryside wasn’t hard enough, now Wang Lung and his family are headed south on the firewagon! This section was a bit like seeing an accident happen right in front of us! While my heart went out to the family as they begged on the street and Wang Lung pulled his riksha, I was also fascinated as the family erected their little tent and lived on their mats on the streets.

Throughout the course of these chapters, Wang Lung really suffers at the hands of the city. He is constantly ridiculed, for the southerners see him as a country bumpkin with his pigtail. He also is faced with the realization of his own illiteracy of the written word.

Finally, once Wang Lung returns to his own lands, we begin to see a shift in his character. To this point he’s been a little disappointing at times–especially in his relationship with O-Lan–but he begins to grow further away from her. His ego expands as his pocketbook grows.

What your thoughts so far? Here are some questions I had for you all…

  • What do you think of the means by which Wang Lung got the money to return to his land?
  • Why do you think O-Lan wanted to keep the two pearls?
  • With Wang Lung realizing his lack of education, what role do you think education will play for his children and in his own future?
  • What did you think of Wang Lung’s experiences with the tea houe in Chapters 18 and 19 and the taking of O-Lan’s pearls?

Meet me next Monday for discussion of Chapters 20-28!