The Good Earth


Discussion Questions

1. How does the character of Wang Lung mirror the life cycle of the land itself? Do you find Wang Lung to be the land in human form? Why or why not?

2. Throughout the story, O-lan does not readily express herself. However, it is clear that she has feelings regarding the land, her family, and her hopes and dreams. How does Buck use literary techniques like symbolism and metaphor to portray O-lan’s thoughts and feelings?

3. The title of the book is The Good Earth. Do you think the title is ironic? Alternatively, does the title signify that despite its cyclical nature, the earth will always be good to those who respect its property? Why or why not?

4. Although Wang Lung respects the land, he often gives into his worldly temptations. Do you seem him as a victim of temptation, or do you believe that he had some element of control over his actions? Why or why not?

5. Buck often uses a neutral tone to describe elements of Chinese culture that contemporary readers might find troublesome. What does this neutral tone suggest about the story, especially horrific instances like the smothering of the young daughter?

Sign up to continue reading Discussion Questions >

Essays About The Good Earth