The Good Earth

The Good Earth

Cuckoo Character Analysis

A woman who worked as a slave in the House of Hwang at the same time as O-lanOld Lord took her as a concubine. Later, Cuckoo came to run the tea-shop where Lotus was a prostitute. When Wang Lung fell in love with Lotus and brought her to live with him, Cuckoo, always on the lookout for wealth to exploit, came too. O-lan never accepted Cuckoo into her home, and the two lived as bitter enemies.

Cuckoo Quotes in The Good Earth

The The Good Earth quotes below are all either spoken by Cuckoo or refer to Cuckoo. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Washington Square Press edition of The Good Earth published in 2004.
Chapter 16 Quotes

But all this was not a sudden thing. All during the lifetime of the Old Lord and of his father the fall of this house has been coming. In the last generation the lords ceased to see the land and took the moneys the agents gave them and spent it carelessly as water. And in these generations the strength of the land has gone from them and bit by bit the land has begun to go also.

Related Characters: Cuckoo (speaker), Wang Lung, The Old Lord
Related Symbols: The House of Hwang, The Land
Page Number: 151-52
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in c

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Chapter 20 Quotes

And Wang Lung... felt his mouth suddenly dry and parched and his voice came from him in a whisper,

“Silver, then! Silver and gold! Anything to the very price of my land!”

Related Characters: Wang Lung (speaker), Wang Lung’s uncle, Lotus, Cuckoo
Related Symbols: The Land
Page Number: 192
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui off

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est la

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Cuckoo Character Timeline in The Good Earth

The timeline below shows where the character Cuckoo appears in The Good Earth. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 16
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
When Wang Lung says he’s come to buy from the house, a woman (Cuckoo) suddenly opens the gates and lets him in. The Old Lord’s formerly fine clothes are... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
Cuckoo harshly tries to initiate business discussions, but Wang Lung protests that he can’t do business... (full context)
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
Cuckoo explains that one of the young lords tried to get his father to leave the... (full context)
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
...the House of Hwang being robbed, and that only the Old Lord and the slave Cuckoo remain. For now, Cuckoo can control everything, but when the young lords return, she’ll be... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Wang Lung returns to the great house and speaks to Cuckoo at the gate. Once she assures him that the Old Lord will put his own... (full context)
Chapter 18
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
...he isn’t aware of the woman until she touches him on the shoulder. He recognizes Cuckoo, who laughs to see him here. (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
Wang Lung feels he must prove he’s not just a country farmer. Cuckoo already knows he’s wealthy, and she suggests he buy some wine, which he admits he... (full context)
Chapter 19
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
...and joyful. He hesitates at the door and might not have gone in, but then Cuckoo emerges from the shadows. (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
When Cuckoo recognizes Wang Lung, she dismisses him as just a farmer, which angers him. He wants... (full context)
Chapter 20
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...everyone must know who she is, and he tells her where Lotus lives and that Cuckoo is in charge of the house. The uncle’s wife sees that her task will be... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...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 the money, rewarding her with... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
Eventually Lotus arrives, carried in a sedan chair across the fields and followed by Cuckoo. Wang Lung is suddenly afraid and hides in his room until his uncle’s wife calls... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...Wang Lung. He now spends all of his time with Lotus. Lotus has commanded that Cuckoo stay on as her servant and take care of her, and Cuckoo lives in the... (full context)
Chapter 21
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Wang Lung refuses to believe that bringing Lotus and Cuckoo into his house will cause conflict, even though O-lan and Cuckoo’s attitudes show that it... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
O-lan becomes unnaturally angry with Cuckoo. Cuckoo is willing to be friendly, but never forgets that O-lan was only a kitchen... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
In the morning, O-lan refuses to leave hot water for Cuckoo or let her use the cauldron to boil her own. When Cuckoo complains, O-lan ignores... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
However, Cuckoo begins going to town every day to buy expensive foods to cook in the kitchen.... (full context)
Chapter 23
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
Lotus calls Cuckoo in to ask what the man’s profession was, and Cuckoo identifies him as Liu, a... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
The very same day, Wang Lung tells Cuckoo to go to Liu and arrange his son’s marriage. He watches over his sleeping son,... (full context)
Chapter 24
Family Theme Icon
...He snaps that his son shouldn’t have been speaking to her, but she says that Cuckoo told her. Wang Lung still refuses to let his son go. For days afterwards, the... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...the eldest son don’t see him at first, and he watches them talking and laughing. Cuckoo sees him and shrieks, and he begins to beat his son viciously with the bamboo.... (full context)
Chapter 25
Family Theme Icon
...to a grain market, where he can be of use to his father. He has Cuckoo set up a meeting for him with Liu, the grain merchant. (full context)
Chapter 26
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
Sometimes O-lan becomes fully conscious, and one day she summons Cuckoo. She tells her that despite Cuckoo’s superiority in the House of Hwang, O-lan herself has... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...to tell his son that he must be married in three days. Wang Lung has Cuckoo arrange the wedding feast, telling her to make it as luxurious as in the House... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...see O-lan. 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... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
There is much feasting. People have come from far away, and Cuckoo has hired town cooks to prepare the food. Everyone has a wonderful time. O-lan has... (full context)
Chapter 27
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
...wheat, so there will be no harvest the next year either. Wang Lung argues with Cuckoo to keep her from spending so much money on food, and he’s glad when the... (full context)
Chapter 29
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...fabric to decorate the house and clothe the slaves. He even begins to eat delicacies. Cuckoo laughs to see how similar the situation is to when she used to live here,... (full context)
Chapter 30
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...the food on his wedding day and giving the slaves the least pay he can. Cuckoo says a truly great family would be more generous, so the eldest son gives her... (full context)
Chapter 31
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...the uncle’s son, for he comes into the courts and looks lustfully at the slaves. Cuckoo says they need to give him a slave for himself, and Wang Lung approves. He... (full context)
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...can tell that Wang Lung pities her, so she weeps at his feet. He tells Cuckoo he doesn’t want to force Pear Blossom, but Lotus calls her foolish for resisting. Wang... (full context)
Chapter 33
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... (full context)
Chapter 34
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...she hates every man except for him. However, she won’t tell him whether Lotus and Cuckoo have frightened her with stories or if something bad happened to her. (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...sun like his father did. Sometimes he visits Lotus, who sits talking and eating with Cuckoo as a friend. When Wang Lung goes to his sons’ courts, he asks how many... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Wang Lung asks Cuckoo about his sons’ wives, and she tells him that his eldest son seems to be... (full context)