Presentation on theme: "Pearl Buck THE GOOD EARTH. Pearl Buck Born in 1892 Grew up in China and lived there for many years Wrote dozens of novels and stories Published The Good."— Presentation transcript:
Pearl Buck Born in 1892 Grew up in China and lived there for many years Wrote dozens of novels and stories Published The Good Earth in 1931 Won a Nobel Prize Started an adoption agency for Asian children
Major Characters Wang Lung—poor farmer; proud; goes on to obtain wealth and prominence O-lan—wife of Wang Lung; hardworking; underappreciated Wang Lung’s Family Father—traditional Uncle, Aunt, Cousin—lazy; leaches Wang Lung’s Children Son One—Scholar; extravagant Son Two—Merchant; thrifty Son Three—Farmer turned soldier; headstrong Daughter One—mentally handicapped Lotus—Wang Lung’s “second wife”; former prostitute; spoiled
Plot Wang Lung marries O-lan. She toils with him in the fields and gives birth to Two sons—YAY!!! One daughter—BOO. One more daughter—sad fate. Buys more and more land from falling house of Hwang. Famine comes—family sells everything and moves south. Begging, rickshaw-pulling and hard labor. Wang Lung and O-lan accidentally join a mob looting rich houses— get enough money to return home.
Plot (cont’d) Wang Lung buys ox, plow and later even more land Two more children born—boy and girl twins. Becomes a prominent citizen Sends first two sons to school—scholar and merchant. Youngest son… Buys a concubine named Lotus—O-lan upset, but what can she do? O-lan’s death and first son’s marriage. Family moves to better house in town—old house of Hwang. Family disputes Wang Lung’s plea—what sons will really do.
AP Question Choose a novel in which cultural, physical or geographical surroundings shape psychological or moral traits in a character. Analyze how surroundings affect this character and illuminate the meaning of the work as a whole.
Cultural surroundings Chinese culture Superstitious/ Traditional Treatment of Women Role of Father/Husband Time period Lots of Change Rebellion
Superstitions and Traditions Ancestors sacred—Earth God, too. Good times—Wang Lung worships and reveres them. Bad times—ignored. In-between times—prays to them for good luck. Bad/Good luck symbols. Arranged marriages. Men’s long hair.
Treatment of Women Servant and slave status. Killing girl children—second daughter. O-lan had no problem doing this. Eldest daughter—mentally handicapped. Could have been sold as slave to get money during famine. Why won’t Wang Lung agree? Fate when Wang Lung is gone… Wang Lung’s wife—loyal and hardworking. Why does he take a concubine? Foot-binding
Role of Father and Husband Head of the family—makes all decisions. Chooses what his sons will do as professions. Who his daughter will marry. How money is spent. Even provides for lazy relatives. Taken care of in old age. Multiple wives, concubines and affairs okay. Wang Lung thinks he has been a good husband- Taken care of O-lan and their children. Hasn’t beaten any of them. Has he really been a good husband?
Lots of Change Less reliance on traditions. City vs. Country Language Technology Resources Western and Christian influence.
Rebellion Fall of wealthy houses Hwang Rich are living in extreme wealth. Poor are starving on the streets. Mobs taking over rich homes. Communism coming!
Who is Wang Lung? Product of both worlds… Values tradition, changes with the times. Sees himself as a good husband, but not really. Values family, but betrays them and makes bad decisions. Seen as head, does what his sons tell him and easily swayed by emotions. Values hard work (days as a poor farmer) but yearns for wealth and status. Not a great guy, not a bad guy. Very human.