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"The Good Earth" Ap Human Geography

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"The Good Earth" Ap Human Geography Project

I. Description.

The book I am reading is called "The Good Earth". It is written by the wonderful author Pearl S. Buck. The book is three hundred and fifty seven pages long.

The book is about Wang Lung who is a young and poor farmer who is living in China during the time signs of modernization are appearing but the Chinese culture is remaining deeply connected to ancient traditions and customs. When Wang Lung approaches age to be married his father. He approaches the local Hwang family to ask if they have a spare slave who could marry his son. The Hwangs agree to sell Wang a 20-year-old slave named O-lan. Wang and O-lan marry. They are pleased but they barley speak. Wang is disappointed that O-lan does not have bound feet.

Together, Wang Lung and O-lan grow a profitable harvest from their land. O-lan becomes pregnant, and there first child is a son. Meanwhile, the powerful Hwang family is falling apart. Wang Lung is able to purchase a piece of the Hwang family's rice land. He enjoys another profitable harvest. O-lan gives birth to there second son. Wang Lung's new wealth catches the attention of his uncle. Custom says that Wang Lung must show the utmost respect to the elderly especially relatives. So obligated he loans his uncle money despite knowing that the money will be wasted on drinking and gambling. The Hwang family's finances continue to fall apart, and the Hwangs sell another piece of land to Wang Lung.

O-lan then gives birth to a daughter. Then a terrible famine settles on the land. O-lan gives birth to another daughter during crisis so she strangles the second girl because there is not enough food to feed the baby and the rest of the family. Wang Lung is forced to take his family to a southern city for the winter. There, O-lan and the children beg while Wang Lung earns money by transporting people in a rented rickshaw. They earn just enough money to eat. He and O-lan briefly consider selling their surviving daughter as a slave. Eventually, a group of poor and desperate people ransacks a rich man's home, and Wang Lung and O-lan join them. Wang Lung steals a pile of gold coins. With this new wealth, he moves the family back home and purchases a new ox and some seeds. O-lan had stolen some jewels during the looting. Wang Lung allows her to keep two small pearls, but he takes the rest and hurries to buy three hundred acres of the Hwang's land. O-lan gives birth to twins shortly thereafter. The couple realizes that their oldest daughter is severely retarded, but Wang Lung still loves her.

Wang Lung hires laborers to plant and harvest his land. He enjoys several years of profitable harvests and becomes a rich man. Then a flood forces him to be idle. He begins to feel bored. He finds fault with O-lan's appearance and cruelly criticizes her for having big feet. He becomes obsessed with Lotus, a beautiful, delicate prostitute with bound feet. Eventually, he purchases Lotus to be his concubine. When O-lan becomes terminally ill, Wang Lung regrets his cruel words and comes to appreciate everything his wife has done for him. Meanwhile, to lessen the demands of his uncle and his uncle's wife, who have moved their family into his house and continued to exploit his wealth, he tricks them into becoming opium addicts. Eventually, Wang Lung buys the Hwangs' house and moves into it with his family, leaving his own house to his uncle's family.

After O-lan's death, Wang Lung's sons begin to rebel against his plans for their life. His first and second sons often argue over money, and their wives develop an intense animosity toward one another. In his old age, Wang Lung takes a young slave named Pear Blossom, as a concubine. She promises to care for his retarded daughter after his death. After a while Wang Lung is surrounded by grandchildren, but he is also surrounded by family arguments. By the end of the novel, despite Wang's passionate dissent, his sons plan to sell the family land and divide the money among them, signaling their final break with the land that made them wealthy.

II. Analysis

The author's objective is to inform us about human's relationship to the earth. Throughout the novel, a connection to the land is associated with moral piety, good sense, respect for nature, and a strong work ethic, while alienation from the land is associated with decadence and corruption. Buck's novel situates this universal theme within the context of traditional Chinese culture. Wang Lung has a relationship with the earth because he produces his harvest through his own labor. In contrast, the local Hwang family falls apart because their wealth and harvests are produced by hired labor. Buck suggests that Wang Lung's reverence for nature is responsible for his inner goodness, as well as for his increasing material success, and that the decadent, wasteful ways of the wealthy are due to their estrangement from the land. Buck also suggests throughout the book that while human success is transitory, the earth endures forever. These ideas about the earth give the novel its title.

One of the lessons you can learn is love and respect. She treasures the pearls as proof of her husband's regard for her because he



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