The Good Earth

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Pear Blossom Character Analysis

Wang Lung buys Pear Blossom as a young slave in a year of famine. His uncle’s son takes a liking to her when he comes to Wang Lung’s house with the soldiers, but Wang Lung protects her from him. Soon after, Wang Lung takes her into his rooms as a concubine, even though he feels he’s much too old for her. She insists that she likes old men. However, she also tells him that she hates men in general. The reason for this hatred remains unclear, but its vagueness allows her declaration to condemn all the actions of men towards women in this book, many of which are despicable. Pear Blossom acts as the comfort of Wang Lung’s old age and agrees to take care of the eldest daughter after his death.

Pear Blossom Quotes in The Good Earth

The The Good Earth quotes below are all either spoken by Pear Blossom or refer to Pear Blossom. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Washington Square Press edition of The Good Earth published in 2004.
Chapter 34 Quotes

Every man I hate except you—I have hated every man, even my father who sold me. I have heard only evil of them and I hate them all.... I am filled with loathing and I hate them all. I hate all young men.

Related Characters: Pear Blossom (speaker), Wang Lung
Page Number: 350
Explanation and Analysis:

Pear Blossom becomes Wang Lung’s concubine and then more of a simple companion. One day he asks her why she’s so afraid of men, and she answers that she hates them all. She gives no particular reason for her hatred, but all of the misogyny portrayed throughout the story provides a pretty good idea of why a woman would hate men.

Ironically, Pear Blossom says that she hates “even [her] father who sold [her],” as though this hatred seems particularly odd. However, it makes perfect sense that she would hate a father who showed that he loved her so little that he could say goodbye to her forever and leave her in slavery. In fact, this early experience provides a concrete reason for her hatred of men, as it probably showed her how little they value and respect women.

But Pear Blossom’s attitude is almost more powerful in its vagueness. As she doesn’t point to any particular explanation for her hatred, it allows her emotion to apply to all of the men in the book and all of their awful acts against women, even the ones for which she wasn’t present. In a book whose female characters generally accept and perpetuate their own oppression, Pear Blossom stands out as a woman who recognizes, on some level, that she deserves better from men.

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Pear Blossom Character Timeline in The Good Earth

The timeline below shows where the character Pear Blossom appears in The Good Earth. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 28
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...slaves to wait on the family. Later, a man brings a thin young girl ( Pear Blossom ) to sell, and Lotus wants her, so Wang Lung buys her partly to satisfy... (full context)
Chapter 31
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...approves. He sends Cuckoo to the cousin, who tells her he wants a slave named Pear Blossom , whom Wang Lung bought in a year of famine to serve Lotus. When Pear... (full context)
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Pear Blossom can tell that Wang Lung pities her, so she weeps at his feet. He tells... (full context)
Chapter 32
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Ever since Wang Lung protected Pear Blossom from his uncle’s son, Lotus has disliked her and accuses Wang Lung of lusting after... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...glory, and he points out that the slaves in the house are all ugly besides Pear Blossom . Wang Lung suddenly feels jealous and tells his son to keep away from the... (full context)
Chapter 33
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
Wang Lung begins to think only of Pear Blossom . One day he feels particularly lustful, and he considers walking out to his land,... (full context)
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Pear Blossom passes the gate to Wang Lung’s court, and he calls her in. He holds on... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Eventually Cuckoo realizes that Pear Blossom has become Wang Lung’s concubine, and she’s reminded of the Old Lord. Wang Lung tells... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
Wang Lung is ashamed to tell his sons about Pear Blossom . The second son comes to talk about the harvest, though Wang Lung no longer... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...comes to Wang Lung’s court. Wang Lung is afraid for him to find out about Pear Blossom , but then he realizes that his son is afraid of many foolish things, and... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The youngest son comes that evening when Pear Blossom is sitting with Wang Lung in the court. The youngest son appears suddenly, like a... (full context)
Chapter 34
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Before long, Wang Lung’s passion for Pear Blossom passes, but he’s still fond of her and glad to have her around. She’s kind... (full context)
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Wang Lung is usually alone except for Pear Blossom and his eldest daughter. He worries about Pear Blossom, but she insists she’s happy. Once... (full context)
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
...but when he arrives Wang Lung can’t remember what he wanted to say. He asks Pear Blossom to help him, and she asks him where he was on his land, which makes... (full context)
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...earth. His sons come to visit him often, and if they don’t he complains to Pear Blossom . She says they’re busy, as the eldest son holds a position in the town... (full context)