The Good Earth: Summary


Wang Lung was the son of a peasant farmer. When it came for him to marry,
his father chose a slave girl from the house of Hwang who was hardworking. O-
lan, Wang Lung\'s wife was a good wife for Wang Lung. She did not waste
anything, and made items such as shoes for the family so Wang Lung could save
his money for other things.. She worked endlessly for Wang Lung and his father,
and even helped Wang Lung plow the field. One day while helping on the field,
O-lan went inside and bore their first child. Luckily, it was a boy. Girls at
that time were always slaves, or married to other family\'s sons. They named
him Nung Wen.
Before leaving the house of Hwang earlier, O-lan promised to bring their
first child to pay respects to the house. That year, the harvest was good, so
Wang Lung bought new clothes for O-lan, the baby, and himself. After paying
their respects, Wang Lung made a deal with the house of Hwang and bought a plot
of good land just outside the house. One year later, another boy was born and
was named Nung En.
Wang Lung\'s third child was a disaster. Not only was it a girl, but she
was born retarded. That summer, a drought hit the area where Wang Lung lived,
and it did not rain for months. There was little harvest, and soon all of the
wheat was gone. Starving, Wang Lung had his ox killed for food, but could not
bear to watch because the beast had been so faithful to him. Not having any
money, Wang Lung sold the furniture in his house for a few silver pieces. His
fourth child was born in the drought, and was born dead. The family was forced
to move South to find food, so with the money he made from selling the
furniture, Wang Lung paid train fare to go down south.
On the train, Wang Lung spent some more money to buy material so they
could build a hut when they reached the city. At the city, they built their
hut, and discovered a kitchen where for almost no money at all, a person could
eat all of the rice they wanted. Wang Lung bought enough rice for his family,
and they ate it heartily. Now, Wang Lung needed money again, so the next day
he rented a ricksha to transport the rich around the city for money, and O-lan
and the children begged for money. After paying the rent for the ricksha, Wang
Lung did not make a lot, but it was enough to support his family for another
day or so. They did this all through the winter, each day earning just enough
money to make it to the next.
One day, after the rich men left, soldiers came in and fought with the
enemy that was approaching them. The poor took advantage of this, and raided
the rich man\'s house. O-lan, knowing the ways of the rich, found a secret
stash of expensive jewels, and Wang Lung got a handful of gold after
threatening a rich man who was hiding. With this money, Wang Lung returned
home with his family.
When Wang Lung got back, he repaired his home which was damaged by
weather. Within the next six years, Wang Lung bought much more land from the
house of Hwang, his first two sons began attending school, and he hired seven
men to work the land including a neighbor Ching, and O-lan had borne him twins,
a boy, and a girl. Wang Lung also discovered that O-lan had hidden a pouch
full of expensive jewels from him that she found in the rich man\'s house. When
Wang Lung found the jewels, he took them all from her except for two pearls
that O-lan liked.
So the men worked well until there was a great flood. All of the land
was flooded and could not be farmed. It was then that his uncle, his uncle\'s
wife, and son came to live with Wang Lung. During this flood, the neighbor\'s
houses were robbed, but Wang Lung\'s house was not. He found out that his uncle
was second to the chief of the robbers. Knowing this, Wang Lung was forced to
let his uncle\'s family live with him, or he would be robbed or even murdered.
Not being able to farm, Wang Lung began visiting the city for entertainment.
He discovered a tea shop where he fell in love with a woman named