The Good Earth

The Good Earth

Lotus starts out as a prostitute in one of the tea shops in town, with Cuckoo as her madam. Wang Lung falls in love with her there, and his love consumes his life, ruining his relationship with O-lan and making him spend excessive money on gifts for Lotus and fancy clothes for himself to impress her. She acts as a symbol of the degeneracy that wealth can cause, and she herself indulges in all the luxuries that Wang Lung can give her, spending all her time eating and being groomed. Wang Lung brings Lotus to his house as his concubine, and his passion for her eventually cools, though he’s happy to have her in his house for the rest of his life.

Lotus Quotes in The Good Earth

The The Good Earth quotes below are all either spoken by Lotus or refer to Lotus. 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 19 Quotes

His good brown body that he washed but rarely, deeming the clean sweat of his labor washing enough for ordinary times, his body he now began to examine as if it were another man’s, and he washed himself every day...

He bought sweet-smelling soap in the shop, a piece of red scented stuff from foreign parts, and he rubbed it on his flesh, and not for any price would he have eaten a stalk of garlic, although it was a thing he had loved before, lest he stink before [Lotus].

Related Characters: Wang Lung, Lotus
Page Number: 183
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 est laborum.

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 laborum.

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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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Chapter 22 Quotes

As he had been healed of his sickness of heart when he came from the southern city and comforted by the bitterness he had endured there, so now again Wang Lung was healed of his sickness of love by the good dark earth of his fields and he felt the moist soil on his feet and he smelled the earthy fragrance rising up out of the furrows he turned for the wheat.

Related Characters: Wang Lung, Lotus
Related Symbols: The Land
Page Number: 212
Explanation and Analysis:

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

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

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

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Lotus Character Timeline in The Good Earth

The timeline below shows where the character Lotus appears in The Good Earth. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 19
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...hall, and Cuckoo calls out to the girls, then tells them that he only wants Lotus. One girl says Wang Lung smells like land and garlic, and he’s humiliated. Finally Cuckoo... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...real. She touches his arm softly, and his arm seems to burn. He only trembles. Lotus laughs gently and calls him ignorant. Wang Lung takes her hand, asking her to teach... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...Wang Lung has suffered much in his life, he suffers more than ever due to Lotus. He goes to her every night, always beginning as a shy, ignorant farmer and then... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...anyone who speaks to him and ignores his family, living only for the nights. When Lotus laughs at his long hair, he cuts it off. O-lan is terrified by this, but... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Wang Lung spends vast amounts of money not only to be with Lotus, but to buy her gifts. Whenever she expresses a desire for anything, he must buy... (full context)
Chapter 20
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...he can 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... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
Wang Lung suddenly realizes he must satisfy his desire for Lotus by buying her and bringing her to live with him. He speaks to his uncle’s... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Wang Lung is afraid to go to the tea house until Lotus is his. He thinks he’ll kill himself if he can’t have her. His uncle’s wife... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Wang Lung waits impatiently for Lotus, so he has a man build a goldfish pool for the center of the court.... (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... (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 were younger, she probably wouldn’t have... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...through her normal routine without 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,... (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... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...a slave to slaves. When he angers and shakes her, she accuses him of giving Lotus her pearls. This makes him ashamed, and he tells Cuckoo that he’ll build another kitchen... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...like her spending so much money, but doesn’t want to tell her this or dissatisfy Lotus. His worry makes him love Lotus a little less fiercely. Furthermore, his uncle’s wife begins... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Wang Lung becomes afraid to tell Lotus what to do, so she’s constantly talking to his uncle’s wife and makes him wait... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...Lung’s father, who’s usually oblivious to the world around him, discovers the doorway through which Lotus lives. Wang Lung hasn’t told him about her, since he’s almost deaf. He sees Wang... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
One day Wang Lung hears Lotus scream and finds that the twins have brought his eldest daughter into her court. The... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
Wang Lung loves his children, and he gets angry. He says that if Lotus doesn’t love them, she doesn’t love him. He’s most angry that Lotus cursed his favored... (full context)
Chapter 22
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...earth, and when he tires he sleeps on the ground. At night he returns to Lotus’s court, and she’s disgusted by the dirt covering him. He tells her she’s a farmer’s... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...home for meals he eats O-lan’s simple food and breathes the smell of garlic onto Lotus, though she hates it. He’s no longer obsessed with her. Lotus gives him pleasure while... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
Wang Lung is proud of other men’s jealousy of Lotus, because this shows his wealth. His uncle often brags about Wang Lung’s prosperity, and the... (full context)
Chapter 23
Family Theme Icon
Lotus pouts at the fact that Wang Lung pays attention to anything other than her. He... (full context)
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... (full context)
Chapter 24
Family Theme Icon
That night, when Wang Lung visits Lotus, she says that his eldest son wants to leave and go south. He snaps that... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
...about his son’s problems as he gains back through work the money he spent on Lotus. He’s still happy to own her, even though she’s not terribly young and she never... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...given birth. She does her work quietly and Wang Lung hardly notices her. She avoids Lotus entirely. Wang Lung never thinks to hire help for her, even though he hires plenty... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
O-lan tells Wang Lung that their eldest son goes into Lotus’s court when he’s not there. Wang Lung hardly believes her, so she tells him to... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...the gods no attention. He can’t decide whether to go home, but he thinks of Lotus refusing to sleep with him and resents her ungrateful attitude. He sneaks back to his... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...been in his life. He strips a piece of bamboo and bursts into the court. Lotus and the eldest son don’t see him at first, and he watches them talking and... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Once Wang Lung’s anger cools, he goes into Lotus’s room, where she lies crying. He accuses her of trying to seduce his eldest son,... (full context)
Chapter 26
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...because even then, he doesn’t feel the same love for her that he does for Lotus, and he still finds her ugly. As a result, he’s particularly kind to her. He... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...a slave. Cuckoo is angry, but Wang Lung leads her away. O-lan forbids Cuckoo or Lotus from touching her possessions after she dies. (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...to 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,... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...to take care of her family, and tells the woman that she owes nothing to Lotus. She falls asleep, and when she speaks again she’s not aware of those around her.... (full context)
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...He can’t bear to sleep in the room where O-lan died, so he moves into Lotus’s court and gives the room to his eldest son and his wife. (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...whole family in white robes and hires chairs to carry them to the burial, including Lotus and his uncle’s family. The eldest daughter laughs because she doesn’t understand what’s happening. (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...alone, wishing he had let O-lan keep her pearls, and he decides never to allow Lotus to wear them again. He feels that the first half of his life has been... (full context)
Chapter 28
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...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 Lotus and partly to feed... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...The son watches his cousin constantly and suspects him of mischief with the slaves and Lotus, though Lotus only cares about her food these days. (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...he can’t bear to have his cousin in the house anymore. He doesn’t bring up Lotus, because he’s embarrassed that he once lusted after her. Wang Lung doesn’t want this trouble,... (full context)
Chapter 29
Family Theme Icon
The uncle’s family moves into what were Lotus’s courts, but Wang Lung can tell that his uncle will die soon, and then he... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
Finally, Lotus comes to tell him that he has a grandson. Wang Lung is joyful and laughs... (full context)
Chapter 31
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...with the second son’s wife and insulting the elder son’s wife. Then he goes to Lotus and calls her “Old Mistress,” saying he can tell Wang Lung is rich by how... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...slave named Pear Blossom, whom Wang Lung bought in a year of famine to serve Lotus. When Pear Blossom hears, she drops a teapot and cries in fear of the cousin.... (full context)
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...weeps at his feet. He tells Cuckoo he doesn’t want to force Pear Blossom, but Lotus calls her foolish for resisting. Wang Lung says he’ll buy Lotus something to pacify her,... (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 her. Wang Lung thinks of... (full context)
Chapter 33
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...ashamed to let other people see him there. Instead he wanders around the courts, avoiding Lotus. He realizes that his youngest son and Pear Blossom are about the same age, whereas... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...Lung tells her he’s not sure how it happened, and she says someone must tell Lotus. Wang Lung is afraid to do so and asks Cuckoo to tell her. Lotus is... (full context)
Chapter 34
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...she says 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
...years pass, Wang Lung sits in the sun like his father did. Sometimes he visits Lotus, who sits talking and eating with Cuckoo as a friend. When Wang Lung goes to... (full context)