Wang Lung (the Good Earth) Character Analysis

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Ms. Davis
Magnet World Literature
14 November
Character Analysis

The protagonist of The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, Wang Lung, is a proud, and ambitious family man who begins life in poverty, living in rural, 19th century China. He is sent to be married by his father when the book starts. Through the first half of the book, his ambition becomes more and more apparent, and he becomes increasingly envious of the Hwang family’s’ success and wealthy lifestyle. He becomes driven to bring himself, and his family out of poverty. In the end, his love of the land helps him to maintain his character, and moral values.

‘“Now will I not eat this meat!” cried Wang Lung angrily. “We will eat meat that we can buy or beg, but not that which we steal. Beggars we may be but thieves we are not.”’ In this quote, Wang Lung is reacting to the stolen meat that O-lan cooks for the family while they are in the south. He says that he would rather starve than eat something stolen. This quote shows how proud Wang Lung is. It shows how even though he is essentially starving, he would rather be an honest man and eat something that he earned, or not eat at all. Another example of Wang Lung’s pride and proud ness is when his uncle approaches him for money a he is working on his fields. “It touched his pride that this matter might indeed be called out before the village.” This quote alone pretty much sums up Wang Lung’s pride. Here, the quote implies that he [Wang Lung] is willing to do anything to keep his reputation good and healthy, including giving his hard earned money to his lazy uncle.

When Wang Lung first enters the Great House of Hwang, he is amazed at how wasteful the people seem to be, and at how lavishly they live. A year after he has married O-lan, and she has given birth to their first son, he, O-lan, and the baby boy go back to the great house as requested by the Old Mistress, and again he sees how expensively the people live, and how they carelessly spend money. When...
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