YMMV / The Good Earth

  • Fridge Brilliance: A lot of characters discuss the high infant morality rate at childbirth, and thus the importance of a woman to bear as many children as possible so at least some of them survive. Yet, all of O-lan's children make it to adulthood (except the daughter she's implied to have strangled at birth during a famine). Why is that? Well, in the early 20th century germs were discovered, as well as the link between doctors and midwives not washing their hands before delivering newborn babies and their high mortality rate. O-lan herself goes against the tradition of having a midwife by bearing her children alone, and cutting their umbilical chords with a clean reed leaf. Thus, none of her children are exposed to potentially deadly germs, and they all lived to adulthood (sans one).
  • Fridge Horror: Wang Lung's uncle is healthy and active long after Wang Lung's father is sick enough to be confined to bed and even dies. That means he's probably related to Wang Lung's mother, not his father. Say... how big of an age difference would that imply between Wang Lung's father and his mother?
    • On that note, Wang Lung's father's reference to how "a woman must bear and bear and bear" just to have any hope of surviving offspring. He points out that Wang Lung's mother had so many children ("a score or more") but he can't even remember the actual number. Of all those babies, only Wang Lung survived.
  • Tear Jerker: The death of O-Lan.