The Good Earth


Chapter 5 and Chapter 6

Chapter Five Summary

The New Year arrives. Wang Lung purchases red paper, and the paper features symbols of wealth and happiness. In her spare time, O-lan fixes moon cakes for the New Year. She wishes to take the best of the batch to the Old Mistress and give them to her when they present their son.

Wang Lung, O-lan, and their son arrive at the House of Hwang in new clothes. Wang Lung waits at the gate while O-lan visits. Although the gatekeeper’s wife offers Wang Lung tea, he refuses to drink the tea, claiming that the tea leaves are not of a high enough quality. O-lan returns and tells Wang Lung that things are not as prosperous in the Hwang House. O-lan and Wang Lung’s son is more beautifully dressed than the children at the Hwang House, and the Hwang family is struggling to survive the winter. O-lan reports that the Old Mistress is dealing with an opium addiction, and the Old Master has taken on more concubines than the family can afford.

The news causes Wang Lung to feel overjoyed. However, Wang Lung fears that his display of joy will cause evil spirits to steal his son. To cover his tracks and protect his family, Wang Lung states that he has a daughter who has smallpox. When hearing that the Hwang House has property to sell, Wang Lung and O-lan decide to purchase the property.

Chapter Six Summary

Wang Lung bribes the Hwangs’ real estate agent so that he can own their property. However, now Wang Lung and O-lan must work even harder than before. O-lan becomes pregnant again, and Wang Lung feels irritated instead of happy. He fears that because she is pregnant again, O-lan will not be able to help him in the fields. She eventually gives birth to a second son and returns to work, which pleases Wang Lung. This harvest proves as plentiful as the last, and Wang Lung’s family accommodates more silver.

Chapters Five and Six Analysis

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Essays About The Good Earth