English Honors 10
August 25, 2010
The Good Earth Discussion Questions
1. Wang Lung’s expectation of rain, the daily boiling of water for his father, and his bathing for his wedding might foreshadow the start of something new. Rain washes things away, boiling cleanses the water, and washing gets rid of unclean substances, so these things signify turning over a new leaf.
2. Wang Lung feels compelled to purchase the rice field House of Hwang because he believes that land is like flesh and blood to people, and it is too precious to go to waste, so if he buys it he can put it to use and make money for his family. Also, he feels important when buying it from the “great house of Hwang.” At first, he regretted buying it because he wished he had his silver back, considering the land would take hours of labor to work on, and buying it had not been as glorious as he anticipated.
3. “And so this parcel of land became to Wang Lung a sign and a symbol.” In this quote, the author means that Wang Lung looks at this piece of land for determination to keep buying land and making money, so that his hole in the wall would be filled with silver again and his land would “less than an inch in his sight” (Buck, pg.56).
4. Wang Lung considers the birth of his daughter to be a bad omen, but he later comes to regard her with certain affection. At times he would feel responsible for her, and he even felt pity. Before his death, he made sure someone would take care of her after he passed,
5. As the family works and begs in the city, they think the foreigners are impatient and ill-tempered. When they first arrived, Wang Lung and his family could not understand them under their accent, and the men make fun of him for being a country man. The author includes these descriptions to convey the difference in lifestyles and societies throughout China in this era.
6. The abundance of food in the city contrasts with the characters’ impoverished lives. Wang Lungs feels