The Good Earth
Chapters 1-13 Essay
The Good Earth is a Chinese book of a farmer’s hard life working on the land. It
tells of the farmer’s good times and bad times, and all through this there is always
the good earth that produces his crops that he may eat or sell to make money.
Chapter 1: Wang Lung is on his marriage day. He wakes up apon a bright and
glorios morning. Wang does his normal chores in the morning and also takes a
bath and gets a hair cut. He is glad that he will soon have a woman to do these
chores. He also has anxiety about meeting the woman for the first time and going
to the Great house. When he meets her, she is very quiet and she does not talk
unless it is neccessary.
Chapter 2: Something I found very different in the Chinese culture is that the
spouse you marry is not yet wholly yours until you have had sex. Wang Lung still
tries to impress O-lan and wonders if she even likes him. O-lan comes out to be a
very hard worker and is much help in the house. She fits in very well.
Chapter 3: O-lan has the first baby and it is a boy. O-lan also tells Wang that she
will return to the House of Hwang to show the mistress her baby. Wang Lung goes
loco and plans to do a lot of thing to celebrate the birth. He plans to die a basketful
of eggs red and give them out so that everyone will know he has a son.
Chapter 4: O-lan recovers easily from the birth and sets back out in the fields
working with Wang. It tells of Wang’s lazy uncle and his problems. It is becomeing
Fall and it is harvest time. Wang Lung sells his harvest and makes a big profit. He
puts the extra money in a hole in the wall in his room.
Chapter 5: Wang decorates red stamps everywhere for good luck in the new year.
O-lan returns to the House of Hwang. She finds that the people there are becoming
poorer due to great expenses. Wang then decides to buy good land from the great
house and is very happy and pleased. He belives he is rising from his level of
Chapter 6: Wang Lung makes up his mind that he is happy to have the land and is
determined to get enough money to buy all the land around the great house. O-lan
has another baby boy which Wang is not so happy about. Wang is becoming rich
off the new land and is rising in power through the community.
Chapter 7: Wang Lung’s uncle started becoming trouble because he didn’t want to
work and didn’t care. Wang and his uncle got in an argument while the uncle was
asking for some money. It turned out that Wang gave his uncle the money because
the uncle was going to tell the town bad things about him. Crows came to Wang’s
field which was an evil omen.
Chapter 8: There was a drought. Wang Lung secretly took some money and
bought another piece of land. The fields dried up. People were forced to eat
anything they could find. Wang had to eat his ox and he was very sad. O-lan had a
baby girl this time. She didn’t get enough food. His uncle got a crowd of people to
come and search for food in Wang’s home becuase he thought Wang had a stash of
food. Ching, Wang’s neighbor, was ashamed of what he did and appologized.
Chapter 9: Everyone’s bellies swell out from lack of food and noone leaves their
homes. There is nothing to eat. Not even corn cobbs or tree bark. Wang loves his
daughter very much. The old man, Wang’s father, is still fairly healthy because he is
fed some food. When Ching tells Wang that people in town, including Wang’s
uncle, are eating dogs and even other humans, Wang decides that they are moving
south. Ching gives Wang some beans for his trip to make up for the robbery. O-lan
gives birth to another baby girl but she kills it since it probably wouldn’t live
anyway. Wang puts the dead body by a grave. Wang’s uncle and 2 other men come
to buy Wang’s land for some money, but he refuses and instead sells some
Chapter 10: Wang and his family leave for the south. It is very hard for them to
walk and Wang’s has to carry his father. A man tells Wang about the “firewagon”
or train going to the south and they decide to take it.
Chapter 11: Wang and his family get on the train with many others. Wang buys
some food for his family and they eat it. A man on the train tells Wang how to
make a living in the South and how to get food and how to make a home of mats.
You can either beg or pull a ricksha (preferably beg). There are public kitchens
where you can get a meal of rice for cheap. Wang gets mats and O-lan build a
home. They all go and eat at the public kitchen. They all start thier jobs of begging
and pulling the ricksha. Wang Lung learns the proper fare for the richsha the hard
way. They make enough money to eat and no more.
Chapter 12: Wang explores the rich city and wonders much about the schools and
the language. He feels that he is a foreigner. Then, he finds a real foreigner and
takes them somewhere in his ricksha and she gives him twice the proper amount.
Wang sees all the food everywhere and say’s that noone could starve. Wang’s sons
become stealers and Wangs punishes one for taking some pork. O-lan grew up
having to do some of the same things as this so she said “meat is meat” and urged
him to eat it.
Chapter 13: The family continued thier routine of begging, stealing, working, and
eating. Wang Lung longs to be working on his land. He even considered selling his
girl to a rich house to get money but he loves her very much. She looks like she
will lack mental ability when she is grown due to malnutrition during the famon.
Wang meets a man which tells him there is a way to get back to his land when the
rich are too rich and the poor too poor. Wang reconsiders selling his girl to a rich
house so she may live in splendor.