The Good Earth

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Throughout the course of the novel, The Good Earth, Wang Lung and his family rise from a life of poverty to a life of wealth. This dramatic change in social status and life style causes Wang Lung and his family to gradually disconnect from the land. In addition, the Wang family slowly loses their moral position and their once valued family traditions. Unlike Wang Lung, his children were brought up in a life of wealth, never given the same opportunities to find their connection to the land. Wang Lung never teaches his children the value of the land as his father taught him, and thus the land is soon forgotten. The gods and their powers are also forgotten because Wang Lung chooses not to pass on his family traditions to his children. Towards the end of the novel the fate of Wang Lung's family becomes clear; they are destined to fall following in the footsteps of the House of Hwang. Although Wang Lung separates himself from the land when he begins hiring laborers to work on his farm, he continues to maintain a minimal, yet significant connection to his roots. "He had gone away from it…and he was rich. But his roots were in his land…" His children however, were never in anyway connected with the land. They never got their hands dirty, for they did not work on the land. They did not labor and produce harvests. Although Wang Lung recognized the idleness in his children he considered it just. "He is more delicate than I was, and his father is rich and mine was poor, and there is no need for his labor, for I have labor in my fields…" Although Wang Lung knows his son should labor on the land, he also knows he will can not force him to because there is no need for his labor. For Wang Lung, prayer to the gods was the solution to all his problems. If a drought occurred, he would pray to the gods for rain. If he needed more money, he would pray to the gods for silver. If he were nervous for the birth of his next child, he would pray to the gods for a son....
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