The Good Earth

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Wang Lung’s uncle’s wife Character Analysis

Wang Lung generally despises his uncle’s wife. She’s almost as lazy and immoral as her husband, always demanding luxuries they can’t afford. Early on, Wang Lung tells her off for letting her daughters talk to men in the village, and she blames her husband’s chronic bad luck for their lack of dowry funds, rather than his laziness. When Wang Lung’s uncle’s family moves into his house, the uncle’s wife immediately sees that Wang Lung is in love with a woman besides his wife, and tells O-lan. She also gives Wang Lung the idea to buy Lotus, and he has her make the arrangements. However, he never really trusts her, and tries to keep Lotus from talking to her. The uncle’s wife urges her husband to blackmail Wang Lung for money, and Wang Lung eventually gets her addicted to opium to keep her from causing trouble and draining his coffers.
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Wang Lung’s uncle’s wife Character Timeline in The Good Earth

The timeline below shows where the character Wang Lung’s uncle’s wife appears in The Good Earth. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...His uncle, on the other hand, always has to sell his grain far too early. Wang Lung’s uncle’s wife is lazy and always wants luxuries, unlike O-lan. Wang Lung even has a leg of... (full context)
Chapter 7
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...the uncle needs help. The uncle works enough to feed his family, but no more. The uncle’s wife doesn’t keep their house clean, and their daughters run around the village and talk to... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
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The uncle’s wife tells Wang Lung that they can’t pay for their daughters to marry since they don’t... (full context)
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...gets angry, telling his uncle that he and O-lan work hard, unlike his uncle and his uncle’s wife . His uncle slaps him for speaking disrespectfully to an elder. Wang Lung knows he... (full context)
Chapter 9
Family Theme Icon
...smile that breaks his heart. Ching says that the villagers, including Wang Lung’s uncle and his uncle’s wife , are eating human flesh. Wang Lung becomes afraid and says that his family will... (full context)
Chapter 20
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...have no comfort in his own house, he has to find it with Lotus. His uncle’s wife immediately sees that he’s in love with another woman, and she tells O-lan. Wang Lung... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
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The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
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...for Lotus by buying her and bringing her to live with him. He speaks to his uncle’s wife privately, seeking her approval of his plan, which she gives eagerly. She tells him she... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...until Lotus is his. He thinks he’ll kill himself if he can’t have her. His uncle’s wife grows impatient with his worrying. Wang Lung forces O-lan to constantly clean the house, and... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...Lung feels bad, knowing he has no good reason to be angry with her. Finally, his uncle’s wife announces the price that Cuckoo and Lotus demand. Wang Lung is overjoyed and gives her... (full context)
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...and followed by Cuckoo. Wang Lung is suddenly afraid and hides in his room until his uncle’s wife calls to him. He comes out ashamedly, and Cuckoo greets him. She tells Lotus to... (full context)
Social Status Theme Icon
When Wang Lung’s uncle’s wife emerges, she tells him that Lotus isn’t as young as she appears, and if she... (full context)
Chapter 21
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...refused her this. Besides, O-lan is expected to ignore Lotus’s existence, and he doesn’t want his uncle’s wife to be her only company. (full context)
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...this or dissatisfy Lotus. His worry makes him love Lotus a little less fiercely. Furthermore, his uncle’s wife begins to eat with Lotus and Cuckoo, and Wang Lung doesn’t like that Lotus is... (full context)
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Wang Lung becomes afraid to tell Lotus what to do, so she’s constantly talking to his uncle’s wife and makes him wait to see her, which makes him angry. He’s also angry that... (full context)
Chapter 22
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...men talking about potential brides, but doesn’t say anything about it to anyone, particularly not his uncle’s wife , whom he doesn’t trust to find someone fitting. (full context)
Chapter 26
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...The son is sad at her state, but pretends to be cheerful. Lotus, Cuckoo, and Wang Lung’s uncle’s wife prepare the bride for her wedding day, performing rituals, doing her makeup, and dressing her. (full context)
Chapter 27
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...he’s afraid of them, so they begin to demand more and more. Wang Lung overhears his uncle’s wife and son urging the uncle to blackmail him for money, which angers Wang Lung, but... (full context)
Chapter 28
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...yet, but he does notice the despicable actions of his uncle’s son. His uncle and his uncle’s wife have been weakened by the opium and no longer make trouble, but their son doesn’t... (full context)
Chapter 29
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...idea and gives him the money, hoping he might die in the war. He comforts his uncle’s wife at her son’s leaving, and his house is peaceful. (full context)
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
...any of it. He sets a laborer’s family to take care of his uncle and uncle’s wife . He brings his youngest son and eldest daughter to live in the town and... (full context)
Chapter 30
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...years, Wang Lung’s uncle dies during a very cold winter. Wang Lung’s uncle and the uncle’s wife have long lain in bed smoking opium, which has left them weak and ill. Wang... (full context)
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...family burial plot and the family wears mourning clothes because it’s proper. Wang Lung gives his uncle’s wife a room in the house in town, and she smokes opium next to her coffin.... (full context)
Chapter 31
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Finally Wang Lung shows the uncle’s son to his mother’s room. He wakes the uncle’s wife by banging his gun on the floor. She’s amazed to see him, and can only... (full context)
Chapter 32
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The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
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...staying. Wang Lung assigns the slave who’s pregnant with the uncle’s son’s child to serve his uncle’s wife , and the slave gives birth to a girl. He promises the slave the uncle’s... (full context)
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Before long, the uncle’s wife dies. Wang Lung sends for the farm laborer who accidentally caused Ching’s death. Wang Lung... (full context)