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The Good Earth: Oprah Book Club #6

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The Good Earth: Oprah Book Club #6 Cover

ISBN13: 9780743272933
ISBN10: 0743272935
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

1. The novel begins with Wang Lung's expectation of rain, the daily boiling of water for his father, and his bathing for his wedding. What might this water imagery foreshadow?

2. Why does Wang Lung feel compelled to purchase the rice field from the House of Hwang? Why does he at first regret it?

3. "And so this parcel of land became to Wang Lung a sign and a symbol." What does the author mean by this?

4. Wang Lung considers the birth of his daughter to be a bad omen. How does he come to regard this girl, who grows up to become a fool?

5. As the family works and begs in the city, what do they think of the foreigners they encounter? What purpose does the author serve in including these descriptions?

6. The abundance of food in the city contrasts with the characters impoverished lives. Discuss the emotionally complex relationship Wang Lung develops with the city.

7. The poor laborers in the city lack knowledge even of what they look like, a fact illustrated by the man who mocks himself in a mirror. How does a new self-awareness come to manifest itself?

8. When Wang Lung becomes swept up with the mob and enters the rich man's house, is the gold he receives there a curse or a blessing? Do you feel any pity for the rich man? What do you think the author intended you to feel?

9. After O-lan steals the jewels, do they function as a bad omen or good luck? Why does O-lan want to keep the two pearls? Why is Wang Lung so astonished by this? What do the pearls signify?

10. As O-lan dies, she bemoans her lack of beauty and says she is too ugly to be loved. Wang Lung feels guilty, but still cannot love her as he did Lotus. Neither woman can control destiny. Lotus was an orphan who had been sold into prostitution because she was beautiful, and O-lan had been sold as a kitchen slave because she was plain. For whom do you feel sympathy? Why?

11. Toward the end of the novel we encounter the belief that things will change "when the poor become too poor and the rich are too rich." Discuss the ambivalence of this statement — a mixture of both hope and despair — and how it reflects upon the whole of The Good Earth.

12. Pearl Buck wrote a first-person novel from the point of view of a Chinese man, which was controversial because she was of a different culture. What are some of the challenges of this undertaking? How might this book have been different had it been written by a Chinese person? Compare Buck's novel to other books written by authors striving to transcend culture or gender (e.g.: Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha, James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room, Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone).

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

absit_invidia, September 12, 2008 (view all comments by absit_invidia)
This is an amazing book. I read it when I was 16 and I've just reread it this year. It's an important classic. I recommend if for every young person!
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(6 of 13 readers found this comment helpful)
teenvougex3, August 25, 2008 (view all comments by teenvougex3)
This book for me was not the most exceptional peice of literature. I had to read this book for my summer reading, and i found most of it difficult to understand. The plot was confusing. I believe that this book would be much more substantial when i am older and i can understand whats going on more. I do not reccomend for under 16 / 17.
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(10 of 17 readers found this comment helpful)
gcorcaigh, October 23, 2006 (view all comments by gcorcaigh)
This book is definitely a good read! Hard to put down, the pages fly past and demand you hear Wang Lung's story. Worth any price put to it.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780743272933
Author:
Buck, Pearl S.
Publisher:
Washington Square Press
Subject:
General
Subject:
Classics
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Married women
Subject:
History
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
China Social life and customs.
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Nobel prize; China; Oprah; classic; Pulitzer;
Subject:
Nobel prize; China; Oprah; classic; Pulitzer; farming; international; book club; Pearl Buck; Perl Buck; Shanghai; Beijing; history; family;
Copyright:
Edition Description:
B102
Publication Date:
September 2004
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.31 in 10.395 oz

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Related Subjects


Featured Titles » Award Winners Sale
Featured Titles » Literature
Featured Titles » Pulitzer Prize Winners
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Featured Titles
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Sale Books

The Good Earth: Oprah Book Club #6 Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Washington Square Press - English 9780743272933 Reviews:
"Review" by , "The Good Earth has style, power, coherence and a pervasive sense of dramatic reality."
"Review" by , "To read this story of Wang Lung is to be slowly and deeply purified; and when the last page is finished it is as if some significant part of one's own days were over."
"Synopsis" by , Pearl S. Buck's epic

Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of a China that was

-- now in a Contemporary Classics

edition.

Though more than sixty years have passed

since this remarkable novel won the Pulitzer

Prize, it has retained its popularity and become

one of the great modern classics. "I can only

write what I know, and I know nothing but China,

having always lived there," wrote Pearl Buck. In

The Good Earth she presents a graphic

view of a China when the last emperor reigned

and the vast political and social upheavals of

the twentieth century were but distant rumblings

for the ordinary people. This moving, classic

story of the honest farmer Wang Lung and his

selfless wife O-lan is must reading for those

who would fully appreciate the sweeping changes

that have occurred in the lives of the Chinese

people during this century.

Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck traces the

whole cycle of life: its terrors, its passions,

its ambitions and rewards. Her brilliant novel

-- beloved by millions of readers — is a

universal tale of the destiny of man.

"Synopsis" by ,
ENDURING LITERATURE ILLUMINATED

BY PRACTICAL SCHOLARSHIP

A poignant tale about the life and labors of a Chinese farmer during the sweeping reign of the country¹s last emperor.

EACH ENRICHED CLASSIC EDITION INCLUDES:

• A concise introduction that gives readers important background information

• A chronology of the author's life and work

• A timeline of significant events that provides the book's historical context

• An outline of key themes and plot points to help readers form their own interpretations

• Detailed explanatory notes

• Critical analysis, including contemporary and modern perspectives on the work

• Discussion questions to promote lively classroom and book group interaction

• A list of recommended related books and films to broaden the reader's experience

Enriched Classics offer readers affordable editions of great works of literature enhanced by helpful notes and insightful commentary. The scholarship provided in Enriched Classics enables readers to appreciate, understand, and enjoy the world's finest books to their full potential.

SERIES EDITED BY CYNTHIA BRANTLEY JOHNSON

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