The overall arc of the story shows Wang Lung’s journey from a poor farmer to a rich landowner. This change is seen most clearly through his relationship with the Hwang family. At the beginning, Wang Lung goes to the House of Hwang as a poor man buying a wife, and he’s terrified of the wealthy and powerful Hwangs. Throughout the course of the story, however, he manages to buy up the Hwangs’ land as…(read full theme analysis)
Chinese society in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, as depicted in The Good Earth, revolves entirely around family structures, and so the course of the novel can be traced according to the development of Wang Lung’s family.
The book begins with Wang Lung becoming the head of his family—in some sense creating a family—by marrying O-lan, which enables him to have children and thus a line of descendants. Family line…(read full theme analysis)
The novel’s title – The Good Earth – makes reference to its portrayal of the importance of the land. Wang Lung starts out as a simple farmer, entirely dependent on the land, and he makes his fortune mostly by means of the land, first by farming it and eventually by renting it to others. The land acts as a life-giving force, seen most literally when in the famine, Wang Lung and his family resort…(read full theme analysis)