The Good Earth

Topics: China, The Good Earth, Culture of China Pages: 2 (688 words) Published: October 8, 1999
In The Good Earth, by Pearl S, Wang Lung the main character is a poor peasant who buys a wife and moves up in the social ladder during the peasants' revolution. This story displays many major ideas of ancient Chinese culture, such as the social order, the treatment of women, and the role of the family in everyday life. At the beginning of the movie the following quote appears on the screen "The soul of a great nation is expressed in the life of its humblest people. In this simple story of a Chinese farmer may be found something of the soul of China. Its humility, its courage, its deep heritage from the past and its vast promise for the future." This means that an empire's greatness can also be measured by the life of its poorest people, and from this you can tell its character and where the empire is going. The Good Earth is an accurate reproduction of China during the Song and Tang Dynasties. The role of the family was completely represented in both the film and the book. The oldest male in the family is always greatly respected with filial piety. Filial piety was the the idea that elders should be respected and the older you were the wiser you were. In the beginning, Wang Lung bought an ugly slave for a wife because his wise father told him to. Wang Lung's respect for his father somewhat diminishes as his wealth increases and because of this he buys a second wife for his own pleasure. This shows that the Chinese society was predisposed against women and they were a disgrace to the family.The Good Earth shows the treatment, or mistreatment, of women accurately. O-Lan was treated badly by today's standards, but Wang Lung was kind to her compared many other husbands back then. Women in China were treated as slaves, they often worked in the fields, kept the house, and cared for the children. If a couple had a girl as a first child then there was a good chance that she would be killed because only men could earn good money. Some women had their feet...
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