English 4 Adv.
10 October 2012
Corrupted by Wealth
Pearl S. Buck’s novel The Good Earth, originally published in 1931 by Simon and Schruster and published again in 2009, takes place in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s in China. Wang Lung is a hardworking, traditional Chinese man who married a slave named O-lan. The couple was very poor and they relied heavily on their land because that was all they had. One year, Wang Lung was very successful in his farming, so he became very wealthy. Wang Lung allows himself to become corrupted by the views of society of the rich, and he begins to treat O-lan more like a slave rather than his wife.
Wang Lung has several good harvests and saves enough food and money to overcome the hard times and get his family through the years to come. One day, Wang Lung decides that O-lan is not suitable to be the wife of an opulent land owner such as himself. He comments on how ugly her unbound feet are, and O-lan was extremely hurt by that. “…and he saw for the first time that she was a woman whom no man could call other than she was, a dull and common creature…” (Buck 179). Later on, he does regret saying what he said to her because he feels guilty, but Chinese men do not show their emotions. It would have been unlike a traditional Chinese man to feel any sort of repentance towards his wife after insulting her. Not only does Wang Lung belittle O-lan, but he also ends up having a mistress. He starts attending the ostentatious tea house because he felt as if he were too good to go to the old tea house. At the new tea house, he got to choose one of the beautiful and alluring women on the paintings that were hanging on the walls. He picks out a woman named Lotus. As Cuckoo took Wang Lung upstairs, she said, “And Lotus may have this fellow – he smells of the fields and garlic!” (192). Wang Lung was highly embarrassed because he cares too much of what society thinks. “This Wang Lung heard, although he...