History Main / TheGoodEarth

8th Apr '13 4:13:34 PM Xtifr
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'''''The Good Earth''''' is a novel by Pearl S. Buck, first published in 1931. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932, and topped the best-seller lists in the United States for 1932 ''and'' 1933. It is the first, and much the best known, book in a trilogy which continues in ''Sons'' (1932) and ''A House Divided'' (1935). Though Buck was an American, she spent most of her early life in China, and ''The Good Earth'' is credited with doing much to humanise and demythologise China and Chinese people to Americans. By contrast, the book's unflinching depiction of some of the grimmer aspects of life in China have made it less than popular there.

The story concerns Wang Lung, a pre-revolutionary farmer who works his fingers to the bone to become successful with the help of his arranged-marriage wife O-Lan, only to drift away from his roots when he does achieve success.

''The Good Earth'' was adapted for the stage in 1932, and a film version was released in 1937. The film starred Paul Muni as Wang Lung. For her role as his wife O-Lan, Luise Rainer won an AcademyAward for Best Actress. The film also won the AcademyAward for Best Cinematography, and was nominated for Best Director, Best Film Editing and Best Picture. Despite Pearl Buck's objections, all the leading roles were given to white actors in {{yellowface}}.

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!!''The Good Earth'' contains the following tropes:
* ArrangedMarriage: Two
* AttemptedRape: Wang Lung's nephew assaults his beautiful younger daughter. He's able to separate them before it can go any further, but the man's complete lack of remorse spurs him to marry the girl off as soon as possible.
* BeautyIsBad: Wang Lung's father specifically denies Wang Lung a beautiful woman, saying that a beautiful woman would not make a good wife to him and would only think of material things. He is ultimately right: a pampered, beautiful woman like Lotus with her bound feet would not have been able to work the fields with him. However, the pampered and beautiful Pear Blossom is a kind character who genuinely cares for Wang Lung and the "poor fool" in his old age.
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: Though Buck was a die-hard feminist, she depicts traditional Chinese practices (such as concubines and foot-binding) fairly straightforwardly.
* GenerationalSaga
* ImpoverishedPatrician: The House of Hwang, which is forced to sell most of their properties to Wang Lung
* JerkAss: Wang Lung to variable degrees, particularly his treatment of O-Lan. Many of the characters are none too kind.
* KarmicDeath: [[spoiler: Wang Lung's uncle and aunt die of an opium addiction. [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] because Wang Lung notices their addictions and sends his sons to give them more]].
* MistakenForServant: Wang Lung realizes that he, in all respects still a peasant despite his great wealth, would look like a servant next to his well-dressed son. He doesn't like this realization.
* ObliviousToLove: It's strongly implied in the novel that O-Lan has fallen in love with Wang Lung (a rarity in old fashioned arranged marriages, especially in China) but Wang Lung mistakes her devotion and obedience as slowness and stupidity, and repays her years of faithful servitude--and her having given birth to several sons, especially a first-born one--by falling in love with another woman, which breaks O-Lan's spirit.
* PerfectlyArrangedMarriage: Subverted. O-lan is indeed the perfect wife to Wang Lung, but since she is not beautiful Wang Lung can't love her.
* RagsToRiches
* SelfMadeMan: Wang Lung.
* ShamingTheMob: O-Lan manages to disperse an angry, starving mob who try to steal food from the equally poor and starving Wang Lung household.
* TheDiseaseThatShallNotBeNamed: O-Lan's illness, which she refers to as "a fire in my vitals": likely cancer.
* UntoUsASonAndDaughterAreBorn: The twins.
* {{Yellowface}}: The Chinese characters were played by white actors. Chinese American actress Annas May Wong wanted to play O-Lan; however, she was not allowed to play Paul Muni's wife, due to the HaysCode's anti-miscegenation rule.

to:

'''''The Good Earth''''' is a novel by Pearl S. Buck, first published in 1931. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932, and topped the best-seller lists in the United States for 1932 ''and'' 1933. It is the first, and much the best known, book in a trilogy which continues in ''Sons'' (1932) and ''A House Divided'' (1935). Though Buck was an American, she spent most of her early life in China, and ''The Good Earth'' is credited with doing much to humanise and demythologise China and Chinese people to Americans. By contrast, the book's unflinching depiction of some of the grimmer aspects of life in China have made it less than popular there.

The story concerns Wang Lung, a pre-revolutionary farmer who works his fingers to the bone to become successful with the help of his arranged-marriage wife O-Lan, only to drift away from his roots when he does achieve success.

''The Good Earth'' was adapted for the stage in 1932, and a film version was released in 1937. The film starred Paul Muni as Wang Lung. For her role as his wife O-Lan, Luise Rainer won an AcademyAward for Best Actress. The film also won the AcademyAward for Best Cinematography, and was nominated for Best Director, Best Film Editing and Best Picture. Despite Pearl Buck's objections, all the leading roles were given to white actors in {{yellowface}}.

-----
!!''The Good Earth'' contains the following tropes:
* ArrangedMarriage: Two
* AttemptedRape: Wang Lung's nephew assaults his beautiful younger daughter. He's able to separate them before it can go any further, but the man's complete lack of remorse spurs him to marry the girl off as soon as possible.
* BeautyIsBad: Wang Lung's father specifically denies Wang Lung a beautiful woman, saying that a beautiful woman would not make a good wife to him and would only think of material things. He is ultimately right: a pampered, beautiful woman like Lotus with her bound feet would not have been able to work the fields with him. However, the pampered and beautiful Pear Blossom is a kind character who genuinely cares for Wang Lung and the "poor fool" in his old age.
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: Though Buck was a die-hard feminist, she depicts traditional Chinese practices (such as concubines and foot-binding) fairly straightforwardly.
* GenerationalSaga
* ImpoverishedPatrician: The House of Hwang, which is forced to sell most of their properties to Wang Lung
* JerkAss: Wang Lung to variable degrees, particularly his treatment of O-Lan. Many of the characters are none too kind.
* KarmicDeath: [[spoiler: Wang Lung's uncle and aunt die of an opium addiction. [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] because Wang Lung notices their addictions and sends his sons to give them more]].
* MistakenForServant: Wang Lung realizes that he, in all respects still a peasant despite his great wealth, would look like a servant next to his well-dressed son. He doesn't like this realization.
* ObliviousToLove: It's strongly implied in the novel that O-Lan has fallen in love with Wang Lung (a rarity in old fashioned arranged marriages, especially in China) but Wang Lung mistakes her devotion and obedience as slowness and stupidity, and repays her years of faithful servitude--and her having given birth to several sons, especially a first-born one--by falling in love with another woman, which breaks O-Lan's spirit.
* PerfectlyArrangedMarriage: Subverted. O-lan is indeed the perfect wife to Wang Lung, but since she is not beautiful Wang Lung can't love her.
* RagsToRiches
* SelfMadeMan: Wang Lung.
* ShamingTheMob: O-Lan manages to disperse an angry, starving mob who try to steal food from the equally poor and starving Wang Lung household.
* TheDiseaseThatShallNotBeNamed: O-Lan's illness, which she refers to as "a fire in my vitals": likely cancer.
* UntoUsASonAndDaughterAreBorn: The twins.
* {{Yellowface}}: The Chinese characters were played by white actors. Chinese American actress Annas May Wong wanted to play O-Lan; however, she was not allowed to play Paul Muni's wife, due to the HaysCode's anti-miscegenation rule.
[[redirect:Literature/TheGoodEarth]]
2nd Apr '13 6:52:16 AM Austin
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Added DiffLines:

* DeliberateValuesDissonance: Though Buck was a die-hard feminist, she depicts traditional Chinese practices (such as concubines and foot-binding) fairly straightforwardly.
14th Mar '13 5:59:56 PM CJCroen1393
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* KarmicDeath: [[spoiler: Wang Lung's uncle and aunt die of an opium addiction. [[InvokedTrope invoked]] because Wang Lung notices their addictions and sends his sons to give them more]].

to:

* KarmicDeath: [[spoiler: Wang Lung's uncle and aunt die of an opium addiction. [[InvokedTrope invoked]] Invoked]] because Wang Lung notices their addictions and sends his sons to give them more]].
6th Feb '13 9:52:03 PM CaoCao
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Added DiffLines:

* GenerationalSaga
15th Nov '12 5:43:48 PM colleen4ever
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* ArrangedMarriage: One

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* ArrangedMarriage: One Two
5th Nov '12 10:22:52 AM helterskelter
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* ArrangedMarriage

to:

* ArrangedMarriageArrangedMarriage: One



* BeautyIsBad: Sort of. When Wang Lung seeks out a wife, he initially looks for a beautiful woman, until his father warns him that "all the lords of the house will have had their fill of her", and that he'll much better off with a plain wife who's more likely to still be a virgin.
** That may be more beauty [[IHaveYouNowMyPretty is]] [[DefiledForever vulnerable]], then BeautyIsBad.
* {{Homage}}: The last part of the story, to ''Theatre/KingLear''. As a ShoutOut, Wang Lung consistently refers to his mentally impaired daughter (the only child he winds up caring for in the end) as his "poor fool", a quote from Lear about Cordelia ("My poor fool is hang'd").

to:

* BeautyIsBad: Sort of. When Wang Lung's father specifically denies Wang Lung seeks out a wife, he initially looks for a beautiful woman, until his father warns him saying that "all the lords a beautiful woman would not make a good wife to him and would only think of the house will material things. He is ultimately right: a pampered, beautiful woman like Lotus with her bound feet would not have had their fill of her", and that he'll much better off been able to work the fields with a plain wife who's more likely to still be a virgin.
** That may be more beauty [[IHaveYouNowMyPretty is]] [[DefiledForever vulnerable]], then BeautyIsBad.
* {{Homage}}: The last part of
him. However, the story, to ''Theatre/KingLear''. As pampered and beautiful Pear Blossom is a ShoutOut, kind character who genuinely cares for Wang Lung consistently refers to his mentally impaired daughter (the only child he winds up caring for in and the end) as his "poor fool", a quote from Lear about Cordelia ("My poor fool is hang'd").fool" in his old age.



* JerkAss: Wang Lung to variable degrees, particularly his treatment of O-Lan. Actually, most of the characters could fall under this trope,

to:

* JerkAss: Wang Lung to variable degrees, particularly his treatment of O-Lan. Actually, most Many of the characters could fall under this trope,are none too kind.



* ObliviousToLove: It's strongly implied in the novel that O-Lan has fallen in love with Wang Lung (a rarity in old fashioned arranged marriages, especially in China) but Wang Lung mistakes her devotion and obedience as slowness and stupidity, and repays her years of faithful servitude--and her having given birth to several sons, especially a first-born one--by falling in love with another woman, which breaks O-Lan's spirit

to:

* ObliviousToLove: It's strongly implied in the novel that O-Lan has fallen in love with Wang Lung (a rarity in old fashioned arranged marriages, especially in China) but Wang Lung mistakes her devotion and obedience as slowness and stupidity, and repays her years of faithful servitude--and her having given birth to several sons, especially a first-born one--by falling in love with another woman, which breaks O-Lan's spiritspirit.
* PerfectlyArrangedMarriage: Subverted. O-lan is indeed the perfect wife to Wang Lung, but since she is not beautiful Wang Lung can't love her.



* TheDiseaseThatShallNotBeNamed: O-Lan's illness, likely cancer.

to:

* TheDiseaseThatShallNotBeNamed: O-Lan's illness, which she refers to as "a fire in my vitals": likely cancer.



* WifeHusbandry: Wang Lung and Pear Blossom
4th Nov '12 3:19:13 PM jatay3
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** That may be more "beauty [[IHaveYouNowMyPretty is]] [[DefiledForever vulnerable]], then BeautyIsBad.

to:

** That may be more "beauty beauty [[IHaveYouNowMyPretty is]] [[DefiledForever vulnerable]], then BeautyIsBad.
4th Nov '12 3:18:51 PM jatay3
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** That may be more "beauty [[IHaveYouNowMyPretty is]] [[Vulnerable DefiledForever]], then BeautyIsBad.

to:

** That may be more "beauty [[IHaveYouNowMyPretty is]] [[Vulnerable DefiledForever]], [[DefiledForever vulnerable]], then BeautyIsBad.
4th Nov '12 3:17:59 PM jatay3
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** That may be more "beauty [[IHaveYouNowMyPretty is]][[Vulnerable DefiledForever]], then BeautyIsBad.

to:

** That may be more "beauty [[IHaveYouNowMyPretty is]][[Vulnerable is]] [[Vulnerable DefiledForever]], then BeautyIsBad.
4th Nov '12 3:17:31 PM jatay3
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Added DiffLines:

**That may be more "beauty [[IHaveYouNowMyPretty is]][[Vulnerable DefiledForever]], then BeautyIsBad.
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