Analysis of woman in The Good Earth
The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck, truly illustrates the life of Chinese women in the twentieth century. Not only does it describe the daily life of women but it also goes in depth about the perceptions of women back then. Although there are several other women in the story who leave an imprint on Wang Lung’s life.
By seeing this, the readers realize and connect the land and the family together and find some logic between them. Moreover, “she was, after all, only a woman.” (Chapter 4) Here is another symbolism at the beginning of the Novel. Throughout the novel, it seems that women are oppressed and treated unfairly. And this quotation represents some kind of idea of men of thinking about women.
One of the most important ways for Buck to look at O-lan and other women in society is to describe the lack of women’s rights through their description of O-lan and Wang Lung. Because of her appearance, Wang Long did not like his wife. In Chapter 4, he asked his wife, O-lan, to help him cultivate the land, even if she was pregnant, like a slave. His patriarchal tradition concept is strong, his wife He gave birth to a child with a first child. He was not sympathetic to his wife, and he was eager to ask whether he was a man or a woman. In addition, though his wife had given birth to a baby for a whole day , Wang still asked her for help. And no one had criticized this behavior or pointed out that this shouldn’t have been happened.
Comparing O-lan with the prostitute, they were both women whose had limited rights in this society. But there is a huge difference between them is the performance. The prostitute has a beautiful face, a hot body, small feet and so on while O-lan did not have. Only because the prostitute had a good performance, she had more love from Wang, more rights, more money. In that era, a man can divorce his wife as he likes because of his supreme authority in a family. As for Wang Lung, he took Lotus as his concubine because he had no passion and love for O-lan at all. O-lan had no right to say no for this. She can only keep silence all the time when Lotus moved into her house, “Then when they slept and O-lan still sat at the table dreaming she washed for sleeping and at last she went into her accustomed room and slept along upon her bed”(Chapter 20). This reveals that when women were betrayed by their husband, most of them has nothing to do but accept their fate. Men were allowed to do anything to a concubine as long as he provided the concubine with comfortable life and pleasant things. When the first time he saw Lotus, he was entirely attracted to her physical appearance especially her bound feet which O-Lan did not have. There is the reason:” This was easy for Lotus Flower since Wang Lung has an all-consuming desire for Lotus Flower.
Her beauty, including her small feet, totally captivated him. If the love foundation between Wang Lung and O-lan is strong enough, he will not be tempted that easily to exercise his lust with Lotus. There is some news about women who cannot bear her husband for betraying them and kill themselves, Some women will even hang themselves upon a beam with a rope when a man takes a second woman into the house”(Chapter 16). As such, Wang Lung felt guilty and was ashamed of his affair with Lotus. However, the feeling of guilty does not stop him to do unreasonable things. He demanded the pearls from O-lan and gave it as a gift to Lotus. Wang Lung was angry with O-lan when his uncle’s wife arranged all the matter regarding Wang Lung and Lotu’s reunion. O-lan’s depression is shown by the quote, “I have borne you sons- I have borne you sons” (Chapter 20). He tried to convince himself that he has done nothing wrong as rich people taking concubine is very common at that time. Thus, this shows that the woman has no power at all and is subjected to any kind of suffering in every facet of life.
I think it is important to enhance sexual equality. Things happened to O-lan were unfair and shouldn’t happen any more. Prejudice and discrimination would prevent the development of civilization of modern society.