History Literature / TheGoodEarth

9th Oct '17 6:19:47 PM NubianSatyress
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* TopWife: Played extremely realistically and dramatically as part of the protagonist's moral decline. After living for years in poverty with his devoted wife O-Lan, Wang Lung later becomes a wealthy man and uses that wealth to buy two concubines--including a former prostitute named Lotus. Lotus becomes the clear favorite to the point that Lung takes two pearls he knew O-Lan loved and fashions them into earrings for Lotus. It's only on O-Lan's deathbed that he gives her attention again.
6th Oct '17 10:21:13 PM DrOO7
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* SexyDiscretionShot: Wang Lung arrives at Lotus's room in the brothel and piteously declares, "I do not know anything! Teach me!"
--> And she taught him.


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* SoBeautifulItsACurse: O-lan repeatedly cites how the beautiful servant girls were raped by their masters if not outright sold into prostitution. Indeed, this was Lotus's fate.
1st Oct '17 3:53:22 AM ACW
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* HateSink: While Wang Lung himself is no prize, he's not necessarily a ''bad'' guy, so much as he is a bit selfish and overly ambitious. His ''uncle'', on the other hand, is a monster--he speaks cruelly towards both Wang Lung and his family, is implied to have ''eaten his own children'' during a famine and before his death of opium addiction, he's stated to have joined (and implicitly be leading) a gang that steals, kills, rapes and pillages. The only thing keeping him from being listed as a CompleteMonster is the fact that most of his antics [[OffstageVillainy take place offscreen]].

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* HateSink: While Wang Lung himself is no prize, he's not necessarily a ''bad'' guy, so much as he is a bit selfish and overly ambitious. His ''uncle'', on the other hand, is a monster--he speaks cruelly towards both Wang Lung and his family, is implied to have ''eaten his own children'' during a famine and before his death of opium addiction, he's stated to have joined (and implicitly be leading) a gang that steals, kills, rapes and pillages. The only thing keeping him from being listed as a CompleteMonster is the fact that most of his antics [[OffstageVillainy take place offscreen]].
28th Sep '17 9:12:52 AM CJCroen1393
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* HateSink: While Wang Lung himself is no prize, he's not necessarily a ''bad'' guy, so much as he is a bit selfish and overly ambitious. His ''uncle'', on the other hand, is a monster--he speaks cruelly towards both Wang Lung and his family, is implied to have ''eaten his own children'' during a famine and before his death of opium addiction, he's stated to have joined (and implicitly be leading) a gang that steals, kills, rapes and pillages. The only thing keeping him from being listed as a CompleteMonster is the fact that most of his antics [[OffstageVillainy take place offscreen]].
29th Aug '17 12:25:17 PM Nopperabo
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* Wang Lung is kind to Poor Fool, who is ignored by almost everyone in the household. For example, he takes delight in Poor Fool's love of sticky barley candy.

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* ** Wang Lung is kind to Poor Fool, who is ignored by almost everyone in the household. For example, he takes delight in Poor Fool's love of sticky barley candy.
29th Aug '17 12:22:13 PM Nopperabo
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* BewareTheQuietOnes: O-Lan is usually quiet, obedient, and absorbed in her work. However, she is also capable of pragmatic violence. She strikes her sons when they laugh about begging, and is strongly implied to have committed infanticide when she gave birth during the famine. When a mob of poor people riots during the famine, she joins them and steals jewels from a wealthy household.



* BrainlessBeauty: The poor fool is an almost literal case, as she's so mentally handicapped that she can't so much besides smile.

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* BrainlessBeauty: BrainlessBeauty:
** Lotus is attractive, but not terribly bright or practical.
**
The poor fool is an almost literal case, as she's so mentally handicapped that she can't so much besides smile.



* DeathByDespair: It's implied that [[spoiler:Wang Lung's ailing father dies of grief for his deceased daughter-in-law, O-lan.]]



* TheQuietOne: Wang Lung's third son.
* RagsToRiches: Wang Lung and his family.

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* Wang Lung is kind to Poor Fool, who is ignored by almost everyone in the household. For example, he takes delight in Poor Fool's love of sticky barley candy.
* TheQuietOne: O-Lan, as well as Wang Lung's third son.
* RagsToRiches: Wang Lung and his family start the novel as peasant farmers and end as a wealthy family.
29th Aug '17 10:17:35 AM Nopperabo
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* DeliberateValuesDissonance: Though Buck was a die-hard feminist, she depicts traditional Chinese practices (such as polygamy, concubinage, child marriage, and foot-binding) fairly straightforwardly.

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* DeliberateValuesDissonance: DeliberateValuesDissonance:
**
Though Buck was a die-hard feminist, she depicts traditional Chinese practices (such as polygamy, concubinage, child marriage, and foot-binding) fairly straightforwardly.straightforwardly.
** Buck also depicts physical abuse of children in pre-revolution China very matter-of-factly. O-Lan was regularly beaten during her youth as a slave. Later, O-Lan repeatedly slaps her sons when they laugh about begging during the famine. Wang Lung beats his son for stealing meat during their time in poverty.


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** The characters' attitudes toward people with disabilities are harsh to 21st century western readers. Poor Fool's intellectual disability is treated like a calamity. She is ignored by the other household members, with the exception of her parents and Pear Blossom. Lotus is enraged when Poor Fool gets too close to her. Wang Lung is considered odd for loving the girl and spending time with her. Wang Lung instructs Pear Blossom to mix poison in Poor Fool's food after his passing, believing that death would be a kinder fate for the girl than a life of abuse and neglect without his protection.
29th Aug '17 10:00:01 AM Nopperabo
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** ''The Good Earth'' also deconstructs traditional assumptions about the ideal wife. O-Lan displays all the qualities of the ideal pre-revolution Chinese wife -- quiet, obedient, hard-working, resourceful, and fertile -- but none of these earn her Wang Lung's love or her relatives' respect. She bears Wang Lung multiple suns, only to develop uterine cancer for her trouble.

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** ''The Good Earth'' also deconstructs traditional assumptions about the ideal wife. O-Lan displays all the qualities of the ideal pre-revolution Chinese wife -- quiet, obedient, hard-working, resourceful, and fertile -- but none of these earn her Wang Lung's love or her relatives' respect. She bears Wang Lung multiple suns, sons, only to develop uterine cancer for her trouble.



** Lotus recounts a story in which she hid in an urn while bandits raped and pillaged all around her.

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** Lotus Cuckoo recounts a story in which she hid in an urn while bandits raped and pillaged all around her.
29th Aug '17 9:53:43 AM Nopperabo
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* {{Deconstruction}}:
** Pre-revolution Chinese society placed great emphasis on filial piety and family harmony. ''The Good Earth'' deconstructs these values by showing a Chinese household characterized by a selfish patriarch, jealousy between a wife and a concubine, and an aunt and uncle who abuse their nephew's filial piety.
** ''The Good Earth'' also deconstructs traditional assumptions about the ideal wife. O-Lan displays all the qualities of the ideal pre-revolution Chinese wife -- quiet, obedient, hard-working, resourceful, and fertile -- but none of these earn her Wang Lung's love or her relatives' respect. She bears Wang Lung multiple suns, only to develop uterine cancer for her trouble.


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* NoWomansLand: The trials and tribulations of the novel's female characters remind readers that pre-revolution China was a scary place to be female. Men had absolute authority over their wives, concubines, and children. The social acceptability of polygyny and concubinage meant that a wife's status in the home was never secure. The absence of contraception meant that women could expect to bear large numbers of children and suffer reproductive health problems as a result. Girls born to impoverished families could be killed as infants or sold into slavery, where a life of servitude, physical abuse, and sexual violence awaited them. Middle and upper class girls were subjected to foot binding and child marriage.
28th Aug '17 10:48:28 AM Nopperabo
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* DeliberateValuesDissonance: Though Buck was a die-hard feminist, she depicts traditional Chinese practices (such as polygamy, concubinage, slavery, child marriage, and foot-binding) fairly straightforwardly.
** Played with to some extent. Wang Lung never questions his right to take a concubine, and never thinks about the impact it has on O-lan until the day that his young daughter accidentally drops a Truth Bomb on him. The soft-hearted Wang Lung feels sorry for his daughter, who is having her feet bound, and she mentions that her mother has told her that it must be done or that she will never be loved by her future husband; "even as you do not love her". Later, after O-lan's death, Wang Lung can't bring himself to look at Lotus for a while, and he respects O-lan's wishes that Lotus should never come into her rooms or touch her things. Also, when she was alive Wang Lung sometimes found himself wondering about her past, thoughts, and opinions, but then chastised himself for wondering because it was not socially meet for a man to think such things of his wife.

to:

* DeliberateValuesDissonance: Though Buck was a die-hard feminist, she depicts traditional Chinese practices (such as polygamy, concubinage, slavery, child marriage, and foot-binding) fairly straightforwardly.
** Played with to some extent.extent with polygamy. Wang Lung never questions his right to take a concubine, and never thinks about the impact it has on O-lan until the day that his young daughter accidentally drops a Truth Bomb on him. The soft-hearted Wang Lung feels sorry for his daughter, who is having her feet bound, and she mentions that her mother has told her that it must be done or that she will never be loved by her future husband; "even as you do not love her". Later, after O-lan's death, Wang Lung can't bring himself to look at Lotus for a while, and he respects O-lan's wishes that Lotus should never come into her rooms or touch her things. Also, when she was alive Wang Lung sometimes found himself wondering about her past, thoughts, and opinions, but then chastised himself for wondering because it was not socially meet for a man to think such things of his wife.wife.
** Also played with in terms of slavery. O-Lan and Lotus were sold into slavery as children. O-Lan's description of the beatings and rapes endured by house slaves are chilling, and she warns Wang Lung that such a fate would await their children if they were sold into slavery during a famine. However, when Wang Lung becomes wealthy, his household includes several slaves. No one bats at eyelash at his sexual relationship with Pear Blossom, even though Pear Blossom is a slave ''and'' a minor.
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