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

1082 WordsMay 5, 20065 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…show more content…
Religion and good fortune are also exhibited throughout the book. Wang-Lung's religious beliefs are a combination of different traditions. Because of his farming roots, he burns incense in the fields before the two small gods to bring fortune to the lands and to his family. But he also asks the goddess of mercy to give his daughter-in-law son so he could get a new robe. He praises the gods when his fortunes are rising and also finds fault in them when misfortunes arise. Wang-Lung is also superstitious and is a believer of omens. He also shows approbation for the Confucian ideals of family docility and is appreciative when his son stands an ancestral shrine in their home. As well as this, he gives donations to both Buddhist and Taoist temples when his first son was born. Wang-Lung and O-Lan are overall good people. Several actions arise within the novel which challenge the ethics in which they live by. Infanticide, thieving, drug commercialism, and slavery all question the codes of morality in China. Through this book we learn that there are extreme cultural differences between ours and that of Wang-Lung's. An additional theme portrayed is wealth as the destroyer of traditional values. As Wang-Lung's fortunes rise, he becomes more and more similar to the Hwang family, whose fall is the reason for his own rise. As his wealth increases, he is able to hire more workers, an becomes obsessed with women

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