The Good Earth


Chapter 17 to Chapter 19

Chapter Seventeen Summary

Wang Lung purchases livestock and expands his home. Wang Lung buys Ching’s plots of land, and he now has so much land that he hires Ching to help him oversee the labor. O-lan becomes pregnant and has twins: a boy and a girl. Because of the family’s recent prosperity, Wang Lung is joyful at the birth of the twins. However, the couple’s first daughter has developmental delays and does not talk. Wang Lung is glad that they did not sell her, for she would have been killed because of her disabilities. He begins to take his first daughter to the fields when he works.

Wang Lung and O-lan are able to store food and be prosperous. To make sure that they don’t end up illiterate, Wang Lung sends his two oldest sons to school. While at school, the boys are given the names “Nung En” and “Nung Wen,” which signifies that they earned their wealth from the land.

Chapter Eighteen Summary

Even though he has everything he wants, Wang Lung begins to feel restless. A flood stops him from planting fields, but his workers do the necessary repairs. Wang Lung begins to take out his restlessness on O-lan; he begins to find her “common” and finds himself wishing that her feet were small and bound instead of large. He verbally criticizes her, and she begins to become afraid of her husband. He feels guilty, but this does not change his behavior.

Wang Lung visits the teashop. He once found the shop extravagant, but now he is unimpressed. He goes to a new teashop, which is more impressive to him. The teashop features beautiful women on the walls, and Wang Lung finds himself lusting after them. Cuckoo, the slave from the House of Hwang, works at the new teashop. Cuckoo is both beautiful and a good saleswoman. She tells Wang Lung that if he wants, he can have any woman from the wall that he wishes. He fixates on a woman who holds a lotus flower, but he does not immediately tell Cuckoo which one he desires.

Chapter Nineteen...

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Essays About The Good Earth