The Book “Good Earth” by Pearl Buck

Paper Info
Page count 4
Word count 1108
Read time 4 min
Topic Literature
Type Coursework
Language 🇺🇸 US

Cast in the Asian country of china, the Good earth is a detailed account of a young Chinese farmer Wang Lung whose rise from poverty to rich land ownership is quite dramatic Wang Lung manages to acquire property through his land dealings but almost crashes by the wayside when the power of money gets into his head. The magic touch of the land that he owns somehow happens to offer reprieve whenever he feels down.

In the novel numerous themes like land ownership and everything that comes with it, corruption and male chauvinism which is manifested through suppression of women come out. However, considering that the story is based on life of a poor farmer and how the farmer rises to become a rich landowner, there is no doubt that land is the principle theme that this paper is going to tackle.

Importance attached to land

A closer look at the title suggests that land is the main theme that is pursued in the novel. The land throughout the novel is depicted as the good earth to which Wang owes his emotional, physical and spiritual attachment. The description that land is given in the first chapters of the book leave no doubt the importance land has to these people and the depth of emotional and spiritual involvement that they attach to it.

Various descriptions of land by Wang portray the importance that he attaches to it. One such description is the portrayal of land as a perfect sympathy of movement or, turning their earth over and over to the sun, the earth which formed their homes and fed their bodies and made their gods (Buck 18). Working on the land always restores his spirit at crucial moments in his life. If he is faced with any troubles, the land clears them and restores him. It also liberates him from the apparently unhealthy infatuation with Lotus and also, it has the same effects that come after the locusts are gone. His troubles and fears were healed when he thought about his land for seven days. It really comforts him that when everything else fluctuates in his life, only his land remains to offer solace. Land is his life because. Wang further personifies land which he fondly thinks has life besides like his own body (Buck 23).

It pretty much explains the duality and the life that Wang will be willing to bestow upon land if he had the powers to do so.

The special connection they have with land is also captured through the description of how in some ages, land has accommodated bodies of men and women they had buried, held firm the houses they had built and when it could hold no more, the houses had fallen and gone back to the land( Buck 18). They obtained their food from the earth by working on and on and moving together in the quest to produce food (Buck 22). Wang accepts his position as farmer and feels content to till the land because he knows that it is his true place where he belongs just like his ancestors before him who had done the same.

Not even drought can make Wang sell his land. He simply cannot imagine such an act. Land is his flesh and blood (buck 37).The attachment they share is just too much compared to money that he will use in short time and after that, his land will be no more. Instead of selling the land he moves to the city in the south in search of better alternatives, meanwhile waiting for the weather situation to improve so that he can resume his farming.

The land issue is so dear to his life that he is eager to pass the same tradition to his children the same way he inherited it from his ancestors. Absence of direct contact between the young lords of the House of Hwang, gives Wang a perfect reason and a window of opportunity to start taking his sons to the working fields. They must learn in the fields that if they don’t tend to the plants then they will sure starve (Buck 48). He also warns them against selling the land. He simply cannot figure out how his sons can contemplate selling land, something that is so rich and where he still has connection to. He warns them of the end if they go ahead and sell the land. Wang vows never to sell the land where he was born. He makes a commitment to dig up the fields and support his family from whatever it produces (Buck 48). He believes his family including his wife, old father and his children will be buried on the land ensuring eternal attachment to the land (Buck 61).

Wang grows to be a rich man in his old age. Even then, the connection that he has with land remains. He proudly acknowledges that his roots are in the land. He still cannot subscribe to the idea that he can sell the land. They cannot take the land away from me. Wang believes no one can take away the labor and effort he has put in tiling and developing his field. Wang further believes its better to have land compared to money. It is easier for one to lose money which he quantifies in silver coins that losing land. He gets comfort in the thought of owning land (Buck 53). The statement reinforces his resolve that no amount of money can make him sell his land.

In his old age Wang could still ponder with a heavy heart about his land and hopes to make contact with it soon as possible. He simply did not believe he belonged to neither the rich man’s house nor the things that money could buy. Belonging to the land of his ancestors assured him of fullness and the only way he could feel so was to set foot on it (Buck 87).

In chapter 14 Wang still emphasizes the importance of his land and how money alone can feed someone. He emphasizes his belief that money and food are eaten and gone but if there is no sun and the rain comes in good proportion, then there will be no hunger ( Buck 90).

Certainly, themes on land can only be exhausted on a much bigger analysis. But, the fact Wang is the main character in the novel and is very personal and emotional about land and the fact that his life revolves around land give it impetus as a major theme in the book.


Buck, Pearl, S. The good earth. Washington: Washington Square Press, 2004.

Cite this paper


EssaysInCollege. (2022, May 24). The Book "Good Earth" by Pearl Buck. Retrieved from


EssaysInCollege. (2022, May 24). The Book "Good Earth" by Pearl Buck.

Work Cited

"The Book "Good Earth" by Pearl Buck." EssaysInCollege, 24 May 2022,


EssaysInCollege. (2022) 'The Book "Good Earth" by Pearl Buck'. 24 May.


EssaysInCollege. 2022. "The Book "Good Earth" by Pearl Buck." May 24, 2022.

1. EssaysInCollege. "The Book "Good Earth" by Pearl Buck." May 24, 2022.


EssaysInCollege. "The Book "Good Earth" by Pearl Buck." May 24, 2022.