The Good Earth

The Good Earth

The daughter / the eldest daughter (the poor fool) Character Analysis

The eldest daughter is born during the famine, and Wang Lung takes her birth as a bad sign because she’s his first female child. She proves to be mentally disabled (perhaps as a result of her malnourished upbringing), and she never learns to talk or to take care of herself, instead sitting in the sun and smiling and laughing at Wang Lung. She twice comes close to awful tragedy, first in being born during the famine and second in almost being sold as a slave. Ironically, she ends up being the happiest character in the novel simply because she’s seemingly unaware of what goes on around her. Wang Lung wishes he himself had this ability to ignore everything bad, and so he dotes on his eldest daughter, and she in turn makes him happy.

The daughter / the eldest daughter (the poor fool) Quotes in The Good Earth

The The Good Earth quotes below are all either spoken by The daughter / the eldest daughter (the poor fool) or refer to The daughter / the eldest daughter (the poor fool). 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 7 Quotes

The voice of his wife answered from the bed more feebly than he had ever heard her speak,

“It is over once more. It is only a slave this time—not worth mentioning.”

Wang Lung stood still. A sense of evil struck him. A girl! A girl was causing all this trouble in his uncle’s house. Now a girl had been born into his house as well.

Related Characters: O-lan (speaker), Wang Lung, The daughter / the eldest daughter (the poor fool), Wang Lung’s uncle
Page Number: 65
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

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The daughter / the eldest daughter (the poor fool) Character Timeline in The Good Earth

The timeline below shows where the character The daughter / the eldest daughter (the poor fool) appears in The Good Earth. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...wanes and he remembers that he now has another mouth to feed. He anticipates more daughters to come, who are raised for the good of other families. He hasn’t even looked... (full context)
Chapter 9
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...there are no animals to be found. The children’s stomachs are bloated with hunger. The daughter hasn’t learned to sit up, and she never cries, but only stares out of a... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...the animals, the grass, and the bark have been eaten. Wang Lung looks at his daughter and sees a faint smile that breaks his heart. Ching says that the villagers, including... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...doesn’t eat. Wang Lung chews a few of the beans and feeds them to his daughter, which satisfies his own hunger. (full context)
Chapter 10
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
...While they stop to wonder, Wang Lung’s father and sons sink to the ground. His daughter looks almost dead, and O-lan says they’re all likely to die that night. (full context)
Chapter 13
Family Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
...squats. The old man is holding onto a loop of cloth within which Wang Lung’s daughter is staggering around. Wang Lung watches and longs for his land. His father says he... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
...could walk back, but knows they wouldn’t survive. O-lan says that he could sell their daughter. Wang Lung protests, but O-lan says that she herself was sold so that her parents... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...and the decadent life he imagines on the other side. He again considers selling his daughter, since she’d probably have a better life in a rich house. However, he realizes that... (full context)
Chapter 14
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...battlefield and his family will starve without him. He wonders if he should sell their daughter so that they can go home. O-lan tells him to wait, for she has heard... (full context)
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Wang Lung holds his daughter and asks her if she’d like to go to a great house, and, not understanding,... (full context)
Chapter 17
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Wang Lung has no troubles at this time besides the fact that his eldest daughter never speaks, perhaps because she starved for her first year, and only smiles when she... (full context)
Chapter 18
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...how wealthy Wang Lung is. The old man has grown deaf and forgetful. The eldest daughter sits by him, twisting a piece of cloth, and though Wang Lung takes care of... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...mentions her feet, which he thinks are too big. O-lan says she’ll bind the younger daughter’s feet. Wang Lung is angry that she’s frightened, and he decides to go to the... (full context)
Chapter 21
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...day Wang Lung hears Lotus scream and finds that the twins have brought his eldest daughter into her court. The younger children are always curious about Lotus, and she complains that... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
...love them, she doesn’t love him. He’s most angry that Lotus cursed his favored eldest daughter, and he stays away from Lotus for two days, instead playing with his children. When... (full context)
Chapter 23
Family Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
Liu agrees to the marriage of his daughter to Wang Lung’s eldest son, but wants to wait another three years, which worries Wang... (full context)
Chapter 26
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...Lung brings him into her room and he sees that she’s ill. Wang Lung’s eldest daughter is the only one who keeps smiling, oblivious. The family has to remember to take... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
Before long, Wang Lung’s father dies in his sleep. The second daughter finds him in the morning and brings Wang Lung. Wang Lung prepares the body and... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
Social Status Theme Icon
...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)
Chapter 29
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
...house a day before his grandson is born. He says he must bring his eldest daughter with him, since no one else will take care of her, and his eldest son... (full context)
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
...take care of his uncle and uncle’s wife. He brings his youngest son and eldest daughter to live in the town and rarely returns to his house in the country. (full context)
Chapter 34
Family Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women Theme Icon
...still fond of her and glad to have her around. She’s kind to his eldest daughter. Wang Lung worries what will happen to the poor fool when he dies, so he’s... (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 he asks her why... (full context)
Rich vs. Poor Theme Icon
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
...and remembers those who he buried there, clearly recalling all of them and his second daughter whom he married away. He looks at the spot where he will be buried and... (full context)
Connection to the Earth Theme Icon
...he moves back to his house on the land with Pear Blossom and his eldest daughter. (full context)