"The Good Earth" by Pearl S. Buck: Summary of Wang Lung's Character

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The following in a report on the themes and action of The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck as it relates to food and culture.

This novel tells the story of Wang Lung. He is a man who rises from being a poor farmer to a very wealthy man because of his faith in the good earth. In the beginning of the story Wang Lung tries to see as little water as possible because he feels safest with his land under his feet. His family is very poor so he must feed his father corn gruel and tea. Wang Lung needs a wife so saves up the little money he has and buys a woman who is a slave named O-lan. O-lan is sold to Wang Lung so she can take care of the home, cooking and bear children. Wang Lung is disappointed when he first sees O-lan because she does not have bound feet which was a desirable quality at that time but he does enjoy when O-lan has the food ready when he comes in a night from the land. Wang Lung is very proud when O-lan makes cakes that no one else in the village knows how to makes and when his family comes to feast for the new year at their house. As a humble farmer Wang Lung always pay his respects to the figures of the Earth god and his mistress when he passes. Wang Lung's love for the earth is the chief driving force in his life. It is also the foundation of his family and the one he turns to when he has troubles. Land is a sign and a symbol to Wang Lung. When O-lan's and Wang Lung's first child is born they dye eggs red and distribute them to the village to shown their first born is a male. After a year of good rains Wang Lung begins to amass a good fortune so he hides the money that they make so people will not try to borrow it. Again, the produce from the year is good, and Wang Lung is able to hide more silver. He buy land from the great house in town and it is very fruitful, yielding more harvest than his own land. Now everyone in the village knows that Wang Lung is the owner of a piece of the Hwang land. His status rises in the village. The following year the...
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