History Literature / TheGoodEarth

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.


Added DiffLines:

** 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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Added DiffLines:

* {{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.


Added DiffLines:

* 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.
28th Aug '17 10:39:59 AM Nopperabo
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* BookDumb:
** Most of the first generation characters are either peasants or former slaves, and are thus uneducated and illiterate. A scribe pokes fun at Wang Lung's illiteracy by asking if "Lung" is spelled with the "dragon" character or the "deaf" character.
** Wang Lung arranges for his sons to receive educations, averting this trope for the sons.



* DeliberateValuesDissonance: Though Buck was a die-hard feminist, she depicts traditional Chinese practices (such as concubines and foot-binding) fairly straightforwardly.

to:

* DeliberateValuesDissonance: Though Buck was a die-hard feminist, she depicts traditional Chinese practices (such as concubines polygamy, concubinage, slavery, child marriage, and foot-binding) fairly straightforwardly.


Added DiffLines:

* HeelRealization: After O-Lan's death, Wang Lung realizes that he took her for granted and weeps.
25th Aug '17 9:21:25 AM Nopperabo
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* BerserkButton:
** O-Lan is enraged when her young songs laugh about begging during the famine. She slaps them and shouts at them because they fail to understand the gravity of the situation. It's the first time readers see her show strong emotion.
** O-Lan is ''livid'' when Wang Lung takes Lotus as a concubine and Cuckoo as a servant. She angrily recounts her youth in her master's house, where Cuckoo berated and bullied her.



* AFateWorseThanDeath: Most characters see the poor fool as this. Only Wang Lung, O-lan, and Pear Blossom can stand to be near her.
** O-lan sees the selling of a daughter into slavery as this, since that's what her parents did to her. She even tells Wang Lung that if it were up to her, she'd sooner kill her own daughters than sell them into slavery during a famine.
* {{Foil}}: O-lan and Lotus were both sold into slavery when they were little girls, but because she was pretty Lotus was sold to a brothel where she was pampered but sexually abused, while O-lan was made to work because she was plain where she was regularly beaten but not sexually violated. As wives to Wang Lung, O-lan is an excellent house-keeper and child-bearer but not beautiful enough for him, while Lotus is beautiful but barren and useless. Personality-wise, Lotus is [[BeautyIsBad vain and cruel]], while O-lan is humble and hard-working.

to:

* AFateWorseThanDeath: Most characters see the poor fool as this. Only Wang Lung, O-lan, O-Lan, and Pear Blossom can stand to be near her.
** O-lan O-Lan sees the selling of a daughter into slavery as this, since that's what her parents did to her. She even tells Wang Lung that if it were up to her, she'd sooner kill her own daughters than sell them into slavery during a famine.
* {{Foil}}: O-lan O-Lan and Lotus were both sold into slavery when they were little girls, but because she was pretty Lotus was sold to a brothel where she was pampered but sexually abused, while O-lan was made to work because she was plain where she was regularly beaten but not sexually violated. As wives to Wang Lung, O-lan is an excellent house-keeper and child-bearer but not beautiful enough for him, while Lotus is beautiful but barren and useless. Personality-wise, Lotus is [[BeautyIsBad vain and cruel]], while O-lan is humble and hard-working.



** Lotus lashes out at Little Fool when Little Fool gets too close to her.
** Wang Lung instructs Pear Blossom to quietly poison Little Fool after his death, since he knows that Little Fool will probably be abused and neglected without his protection.

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** Lotus lashes out at Little Poor Fool when Little Fool the girl gets too close to her.
** Wang Lung instructs Pear Blossom to quietly poison Little Poor Fool after his death, since he knows that Little Poor Fool will probably be abused and neglected without his protection.
25th Aug '17 9:10:22 AM Nopperabo
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* RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil:
** O-Lan tells Wang Lung that the masters of the house where she served would frequently rape beautiful servant girls.
** Lotus recounts a story in which she hid in an urn while bandits raped and pillaged all around her.
** The book strongly implies that Pear Blossom experienced sexual assault at the hands of at least one man in Wang Lung's household. She prefers the elderly Wang Lung to "cruel" young men.



* TheStoic: O-Lan

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* TheStoic: O-LanO-Lan. She endures a loveless marriage, famine, poverty, and other perils with a stoic attitude.




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* WouldHurtAChild
** O-Lan is strongly implied to have committed infanticide when she bore a baby girl during the famine.
** Lotus lashes out at Little Fool when Little Fool gets too close to her.
** Wang Lung instructs Pear Blossom to quietly poison Little Fool after his death, since he knows that Little Fool will probably be abused and neglected without his protection.
1st Jul '17 3:16:19 PM fearlessnikki
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* GossipyHens: Lotus and Cuckoo spend their time gossiping.



* ImAHumanitarian: Suspected of Wang Lung's aunt and uncle during a period of famine: They appear much better fed than their neighbors, and some of their children disappear and are never seen again.
** EatsBabies[=/=]OffingTheOffspring

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* ImAHumanitarian: Suspected of Wang Lung's aunt and uncle during a period of famine: They appear much better fed than their neighbors, and some of their [[OffingTheOffspring children disappear disappear]] and are [[EatsBabies never seen again.
** EatsBabies[=/=]OffingTheOffspring
again]].



* KickTheDog: Wang Lung's treatment of O-lan after he starts seeing Lotus; particularly when he makes her give him the two pearls she'd humbly asked to keep (from the bag of gems she'd originally stolen that made them rich), and which she'd planned to make into earrings as a wedding gift for their youngest daughter, so he can give them to his mistress Lotus.
* Lotus has an almost literal case when she strikes the poor fool for trying to touch her.

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* KickTheDog: KickTheDog:
**
Wang Lung's treatment of O-lan after he starts seeing Lotus; particularly when he makes her give him the two pearls she'd humbly asked to keep (from the bag of gems she'd originally stolen that made them rich), and which she'd planned to make into earrings as a wedding gift for their youngest daughter, so he can give them to his mistress Lotus.
* ** Lotus has an almost literal case when she strikes the poor fool for trying to touch her.



* MayDecemberRomance: [[spoiler: Wang Lung and Pear Blossom]]

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* MayDecemberRomance: [[spoiler: Wang Lung and Pear Blossom]]Blossom. Although in an odd way, it seems to switch back and forth between being a romance and a more father/daughter relationship. He loses sexual interest in her quickly, but enjoys her companionship.]]
* MeaningfulName:
** Cuckoos are birds that lay their eggs in other birds' nests and push the other eggs out in favour of their own. Cuckoo will do anything for money, and she inserts herself into Wang Lung's household to do so.
** Lotus flowers are beautiful but grow in dirty, muddy water. Lotus is beautiful on the surface but everything underneath is dirty and disgusting.
** Pear blossoms are often used as a symbol of hope and lasting friendship. Pear Blossom becomes Wang Lung's companion who he views with affection rather than lust.



* TheSociopath: Wang Lung's uncle.

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* TheSociopath: TheSociopath:
**
Wang Lung's uncle.



* SweetTooth: Lotus, as she ages.

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* SweetTooth: Lotus, as she ages. She ends up getting fat.



* ThemeNaming: The pretty girls are given flower names - Lotus and Pear Blossom.
* TheThreeFacesOfEve: Young and innocent Pear Blossom is the Child, dutiful and diligent O-lan is the Wife, seductive and sexual Lotus is the Seductress.



* VitriolicBestBuds: Lotus and Cuckoo. Lotus was her slave at the brothel, then Cuckoo was taken in to be Lotus's servant in Wang Lung's house. Despite the constant trading of power, they remain friends.



* AdaptedOut: The twins don't appear in the film. Neither does Pearl Blossom.

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* AdaptedOut: The twins don't appear in the film. Neither does Pearl Pear Blossom.
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