Thursday, 26 June 2008

The Good Earth

I took a break from Western Civilization, to read "The Good Earth" by Pearl S. Buck. I knew that it was considered to be a classic, but I didn't realise that it was written in the early 1930's. I thought more the 50s and 60s. Reading it though, the language is beautiful, and not dated the way some books are. In fact, she really did try to make the dialogue sound believable. There are many contrasts to be remarked upon in the coarse of the novel; there is the lot of man and woman, rich and poor, famine and feast, drought and flood, and how each is interconnected. It shows a family dynamic that is quite different to today's family structure, with extra wives, a deep respect for the older generation, with not just the main character, Wang Lung's, father residing with him and being cared for in his old age, but the father's uncle's family as well. O-Lan is the wife of Wang Lung, and a more suffering, loyal woman you could not meet. She births her children amid the ploughing, sowing and harvesting of farm life, she struggles to feed the family through famine, and is uncomplaining when her loyalty is repaid with the addition of a second wife. Lotus is a stark contrast to O-Lan, and is not a likable character at all! Wang Lung establishes himself as a respected member of his village, then moves into town, where his sons are embarking on a life much different to his.
This is the first in a trilogy, and I will be looking to add "Sons" and "A House Divided" to round of the story.