The Good Earth: Olan Post-lotus by Irene Evangelopoulos on Prezi
In the end, I think it is because of the complexity of Wang Lung's characte I appreciated the contrast made between Olan and the prostitute who captured Wang Lung Issues such as infanticide, pillaging, slavery, drug selling, and other less His relationship with O-lan strikes me as typical in the timeframe of the story. The Good Earth: O-lan Post-lotus. Text/ Page Decoder Relationship Analyzer Summarizer is Wang Lung's first wife a woman of few words. These wise words, quoted by the main character Wang Lung, come from Pearl S. . Good Earth Olan Throughout The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, O-lan O-lan was a slave in the House of Hwang before her marriage was arranged by the.
Wang Lung uses this money to bring the family home, buy a new ox and farm tools, and hire servants to work the land for him. In time, the youngest children are born, a twin son and daughter.
He is eventually able to send his first two sons to school also apprenticing the second one as a merchant and retains the third one on the land. As Wang Lung becomes more prosperous, he buys a concubine named Lotus. O-Lan endures the betrayal of her husband when he takes the only jewels she had asked to keep for herself, the two pearls, so that he can make them into earrings to present to Lotus.
O-Lan's morale suffers, and she eventually dies but not before witnessing her first son's wedding. Wang Lung finally appreciates her place in his life as he mourns her passing.
The Good Earth
Lung and his family move into town and rent the old House of Hwang. Wang Lung, now an old man, wants peace, but there are always disputes, especially between his first and second sons and particularly their wives. Wang Lung's third son runs away to become a soldier.
At the end of the novel, Wang Lung overhears his sons planning to sell the land and tries to dissuade them. They say that they will do as he wishes but smile knowingly at each other.
Characters[ edit ] Wang Lung — poor, hard-working farmer born and raised in a small village of Anhwei. He is the protagonist of the story and suffers hardships as he accumulates wealth and the outward signs of success. He has a strong sense of morality and adheres to Chinese traditions such as filial piety and duty to family.
He believes that the land is the source of his happiness and wealth. By the end of his life he has become a very successful man and possesses a large plot of land which he buys from the House of Hwang. As his lifestyle changes he begins to indulge in the pleasures his wealth can buy—he purchases a concubine named Lotus.
In PinyinWang's name is written "Wang Long. O-Lan — first wife, formerly a slave in the house of Hwang. A woman of few words, she is uneducated but nonetheless is valuable to Wang Lung for her skills, good sense, and indomitable work ethic. She is considered plain or ugly; her feet are not bound.
Wang Lung sometimes mentions her wide lips. Nevertheless, she is hardworking and self-sacrificing. Towards the end of the book, O-Lan dies due to failing organs. When she lies on her deathbed, Wang Lung pays all of his attention to her and purchases her coffin not long before her death.
Wang Lung's father — An old, parsimonious senior who seems to only want his tea, food, and grandsons. He desires grandchildren to comfort him in his old age and becomes exceedingly needy and senile as the novel progresses. He has strong and out-dated morals. He grows up as a scholar and goes through a rebellious phase before Wang Lung sends him south for three years to complete his education.
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He grows up to be a large and handsome man, and he marries the daughter of the local grain merchant, Liu. As his father's position continues to rise, Nung En becomes increasingly enamored with wealth and he wants to live a showy and rich life. He has a shrewd mind for business but he's against his father's traditional ethics. He is described as crafty, thin, and clever, and he's far more thrifty than Wang Lung's eldest son. He becomes a merchant and weds a village daughter. The Poor Fool — first daughter and third child of O-lan and Wang Lung, whose mental handicap is caused by severe starvation during her infancy.
As the years go by, Wang Lung grows very fond of her. She mostly sits in the sun and twists a piece of cloth. By the time of Wang Lung's death, she was to be cared for by Pear Blossom. Second Baby Girl — Killed immediately after delivery. Third Daughter — The twin of the youngest son. She is described as a pretty child with an almond-colored face and thin red lips.
During the story, her feet are bound. She is betrothed to the son of a merchant her sister-in-law's family at age 9 and moves to their home at age 13 due to the harassment of Wang Lung's cousin. Youngest Son — Put in charge of the fields while the middle and eldest sons go to school.
He grows up to be an independent person and runs away to become a soldier, against his father's wishes. Eldest Son's Wife — Daughter of a grain merchant and a town woman who hates the middle son's wife.
She is brought to the house before O-Lan's death and is deemed proper and fit by the dying woman. Her first child is a boy. Middle Son's Wife — A poor and hard working village woman. She hates the first son's wife. Her first child is a girl. Wang Lung's concubines and servants[ edit ] Lotus Flower — Much-spoiled concubine and former prostitute. Wang Lung assumes O-lan is slow and stupid because she doesn't speak or emote much, and so is often surprised when she displays moments of cunning, prudence, resourcefulness, insightand passion.
Wang Lung has a massive one. Wang Lung's third son is implied to be this for Pear Blossom, who can't love him back and is interested in his father because she doesn't like young men. Wang Lung doesn't like women with unbound feet, but objects to O-lan binding their daughter's feet even though failing to do so would make her unattractive in her own future husband's eyes. O-lan indirectly calls him out on this.
Wang Lung is unhappy to learn that his daughter-in-law wants to have a wet nurse in order to keep her breasts nice and pert, fondly reminiscing the days when O-lan nursed their children. He conveniently forgets that this caused her breasts to sag as she got older, which he threw in her face when he left her bed for Lotus's.
Wang Lung noticing a pattern, here? Earlier, when living on the streets during the famine, Wang Lung beat his eldest son for stealing some meat, calling the boy a thief. He later has no problem taking jewelry from a rich man who had assumed Wang Lung to be one of the violent looters he was hiding from.
Nor does he mind O-lan stealing an even larger bag of jewels. Suspected of Wang Lung's aunt and uncle during a period of famine: They appear much better fed than their neighbors, and some of their children disappear and are never seen again. The House of Hwang, which is forced to sell most of their properties to Wang Lung. It's All About Me: Wang Lung rarely thinks of anyone but himself. The few times he does he worries about whether he looks good in the eyes of other men, or whether his family makes him look bad to the neighbors.
Wang Lung to variable degrees, particularly his treatment of O-Lan. Many of the characters are none too kind. Wang Lung's uncle and aunt die of an opium addiction. Invoked because Wang Lung notices their addictions and sends his sons to give them more. Wang Lung's treatment of O-lan after he starts seeing Lotus; particularly when he makes her give him the two pearls she'd humbly asked to keep from the bag of gems she'd originally stolen that made them richand which she'd planned to make into earrings as a wedding gift for their youngest daughter, so he can give them to his mistress Lotus.
Lotus has an almost literal case when she strikes the poor fool for trying to touch her. Like Father, Like Son: Wang Lung's oldest son takes after him the most.
Like Parent, Like Spouse: Wang Lung's oldest son is a lot like him, so when Wang Lung learns of his son's interest in his concubine he finds him a wife who looks just like her. He does this by asking Lotus if she knows of anyone, and she tells him of an old client who stopped seeing her because she looked just like his young daughter. Wang Lung and Pear Blossom. He loses sexual interest in her quickly, but enjoys her companionship.
Cuckoos are birds that lay their eggs in other birds' nests and push the other eggs out in favour of their own. Cuckoo will do anything for money, and she inserts herself into Wang Lung's household to do so.
Lotus flowers are beautiful but grow in dirty, muddy water. Lotus is beautiful on the surface but everything underneath is dirty and disgusting.
Pear blossoms are often used as a symbol of hope and lasting friendship. Pear Blossom becomes Wang Lung's companion who he views with affection rather than lust. Wang Lung realizes that he, in all respects still a peasant despite his great wealth, would look like a servant next to his well-dressed son. He doesn't like this realization. Wang Lung develops some affection for his mentally handicapped daughter. More Deadly Than the Male: While both Wang Lung's uncle and aunt extort him for money and favors after he becomes wealthy, he soon notes that his uncle usually just asks for simple pleasures and then lets him be, while his aunt keeps making incessant and increasingly unreasonable requests.
Wang Lung doesn't realize how cruel and unfair he's been to O-lan all these years until she's on her deathbed, but by then it's far too late to make it up to her.
Nice to the Waiter: When Wang Lung pulls a rickshaw, he gets a generous payment from a foreigner, but he soon realizes that she doesn't know how valuable the payment she gave was. Most characters in the narrative are not named, including all of Wang Lung's relatives and their spouses.
The trials and tribulations of the novel's female characters remind readers that pre-revolution China was a scary place to be female. Men had absolute authority over their wives, concubines, and children. The social acceptability of polygyny and concubinage meant that a wife's status in the home was never secure. The absence of contraception meant that women could expect to bear large numbers of children and suffer reproductive health problems as a result.
Girls born to impoverished families could be killed as infants or sold into slavery, where a life of servitude, physical abuse, and sexual violence awaited them.
Middle and upper class girls were subjected to foot binding and child marriage. It's strongly implied in the novel that O-Lan has fallen in love with Wang Lung a rarity in old fashioned arranged marriages, especially in China but Wang Lung mistakes her devotion and obedience as slowness and stupidity, and repays her years of faithful servitude—and her having given birth to several sons, especially a first-born one—by falling in love with another woman, which breaks O-Lan's spirit. A particularly tragic example, when O-lan is implied to have killed her newborn daughter during the famine.
One of the Kids: The poor fool with the twins when they're toddlers, despite nearly being an adolescent at the time, because developmentally she's at the same mental state as them. Wang Lung has ONE moment in his life, when his children sneak into Lotus' room to get a look at her, and she screams and tries to strike them.
Wang Lung openly favors his eldest son, since he's a first-born son who takes after him. His second son doesn't mind since he knows how to manipulate his dad into giving him what he wants anyway, but his third son does mind.
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It goes without saying that he favors his sons over his daughters. O-lan is indeed the perfect wife to Wang Lung, but since she is not beautiful Wang Lung can't love her. Invoked by his second son for himself. After Wang Lung finds his eldest son a beautiful wife, he assumes his second son will want the same. The kid replies that he actually wants a girl who's sensible, pretty but not so pretty as to be vain, and from a decent family but not so good a family that she's be haughty or arrogant.
Confused, Wang Lung carries out his requests, and from all appearances his second son's marriage is more stable than any other man's in the family. Wang Lung burying Ching in the family cemetery to honor a lifetime of service, despite his sons' protests. When the female slave that the family gives Wang Lung's nephew to keep him from assaulting the other girls gives birth to a girl instead of a boy, thus they are not obligated to welcome her into the family, Wang Lung gives her a decent settlement anyway.
Wang Lung is kind to Poor Fool, who is ignored by almost everyone in the household. For example, he takes delight in Poor Fool's love of sticky barley candy. O-Lan, as well as Wang Lung's third son. Wang Lung and his family start the novel as peasant farmers and end as a wealthy family.
Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: O-Lan tells Wang Lung that the masters of the house where she served would frequently rape beautiful servant girls. Cuckoo recounts a story in which she hid in an urn while bandits raped and pillaged all around her. The book strongly implies that Pear Blossom experienced sexual assault at the hands of at least one man in Wang Lung's household. She prefers the elderly Wang Lung to "cruel" young men.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here! Wang Lung's third son, after he finds out about his dad's relationship with Pear Blossom, whom the book implies he was in love with. Trying to get Wang Lung's second son to part with money is like trying to get him to part with his fingers. Wang Lung arrives at Lotus's room in the brothel and piteously declares, "I do not know anything! O-Lan manages to disperse an angry, starving mob who try to steal food from the equally poor and starving Wang Lung household.
His two eldest sons. His eldest son is lusty, passionate, and a notorious spendthrift, while his second son is shrewd, calculating, and a huge miser. So Beautiful, It's a Curse: O-lan repeatedly cites how the beautiful servant girls were raped by their masters if not outright sold into prostitution. Indeed, this was Lotus's fate. Wang Lung's nephew is no better. Wang Lung's nephew after he joins the army, as he seems to revel in a job that allows him to rape, plunder and kill without consequence.
When quartered at Wang Lung's mansion, he even threatens to do the same to Wang Lung and his family unless he gives him his way in everything. She endures a loveless marriage, famine, poverty, and other perils with a stoic attitude.
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Lotus, as she ages. She ends up getting fat. Take a Third Option: When Wang Lung's aunt and uncle drive the rest of the family crazy with endless extortions, his sons seriously plan to kill them and Make It Look Like an Accident. When Wang Lung sees that they both become too lethargic to make demands when high on opium, he opts to have his sons give them as much as they want until they eventually die from it.
The pretty girls are given flower names - Lotus and Pear Blossom. The Three Faces of Eve: Played extremely realistically and dramatically as part of the protagonist's moral decline. After living for years in poverty with his devoted wife O-Lan, Wang Lung later becomes a wealthy man and uses that wealth to buy two concubines—including a former prostitute named Lotus.
Lotus becomes the clear favorite to the point that Lung takes two pearls he knew O-Lan loved and fashions them into earrings for Lotus. It's only on O-Lan's deathbed that he gives her attention again. In the ending, Wang Lung's sons pretend to agree to his Last Requestbut look at each other over his eyes and smile, indicating that they intend to go back on their word.
O-Lan to Wang Lung. Not that he appreciates it. Wang Lung's third son, whom he never even thinks about unless someone asks, "How many sons do you have? Wang Lung repays years of faithful servitude and child-rearing from O-lan by taking a concubine and bad-mouthing her for not being pretty enough for him.
He also makes his fortune off the stash of gems she had the good sense to steal from a noble's mansion and which he made her give himbut never gives her any nice things in return despite lavishing many jewels and presents on his concubine, Lotus. The phrase "well, and" is at the beginning of about half the passages of dialogue in the novel. Lotus was her slave at the brothel, then Cuckoo was taken in to be Lotus's servant in Wang Lung's house.
Despite the constant trading of power, they remain friends. Why Couldn't You Be Different? Although he's her husband rather than her father, Wang Lung gives a very cruel variant of this to O-lan at one point after he starts seeing Lotus, angrily demanding why she isn't prettier or why her feet are unbound; all things she can't do anything about. O-Lan is strongly implied to have committed infanticide when she bore a baby girl during the famine.
Lotus lashes out at Poor Fool when the girl gets too close to her. Wang Lung instructs Pear Blossom to quietly poison Poor Fool after his death, since he knows that Poor Fool will probably be abused and neglected without his protection. Tropes unique to the film: Uncle is more pompous and less threatening than his book counterpart. Wang Lung realises he does love O-Lan on her deathbed, and gives her back the pearls he took, something he didn't do in the book.