The Good Earth


Chapter 2 to Chapter 4

Chapter Two Summary

Wang Lung awakens the morning after the wedding and worries that his wife may not like him. However, she brings him tea, which assuages his fears. Tea is a luxury for someone like Wang Lung, so he appreciates the gesture. O-lan works hard to keep the house clean and help Wang Lung in the fields. Despite her calm nature, Wang Lung senses that his new wife is scared and sad. O-lan reveals that she is pregnant, which pleases Wang Lung.

Chapter Three Summary

O-lan does not want anyone to help with her labor and the birth. She requests that no one from the House of Hwang be allowed to see her and the baby until she can present the newborn to The Old Mistress. Before the baby is born, O-lan describes the offspring with great clarity, which impresses Wang Lung. Wang Lung is thrilled when O-lan delivers a newborn boy.

Chapter Four Summary

Wang Lung buys red sugar and dyes fifty eggs red—this symbolizes that his wife has given birth to a son. In addition to the good news of the family’s addition, the harvest is good for the season. Even though Wang Lung’s fields have produced enough grain to store for the winter, O-lan spares no time to returning to work. Wang Lung boils the red eggs and gives them out on the one-month anniversary of his son’s birth. O-lan repairs the family’s shoes and clothing, and they begin hiding their profits of silver in their wall.

Chapters Two-Four Analysis

In these chapters, Buck draws heavily on the parallel that the cycle of life corresponds with the cycle of the harvest. As Wang Lung’s family grows, the harvest is plentiful. However, the Hwang family, who was once powerful, begins to decline in status and wealth. With this theme, Buck suggests that families and individuals will sometimes encounter a “seasonal harvest” and other times a “famine.” Although Wang Lung’s young family thrives at the...

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Essays About The Good Earth