The Good Earth O-Lan Quotes

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The Good Earth, a historical fiction by Pearl S. Buck, shows the life of a farmer in twentieth century China. Throughout the novel, Wang Lung, the main character, progresses from a poor countryman to a rich businessman. O-lan, Wang Lung’s faithful wife, bores her husband many children and serves as a strong foundation in the household. Through multiple examples in the book, Buck portrays the obvious gender bias of Ancient China, a woman’s understood responsibilities within a household, and their quiet power. Prevalent with Wang Lung’s eldest daughter, China’s society shows no favor towards a girl. After she births her first daughter, O-lan says, “It is only a slave this time -- nothing worth mentioning” (65). As opposed to celebrating with the birth of her sons, O-lan only shows shame after her daughter’s birth, leading the reader to realize the apparent discrimination against females. Even more so, this quote portrays the lack of recognition of the qualities and usefulness that a girl may provide. The girl survives through poverty and a move to the…show more content…
Through her hard work, O-lan catches her husband’s attention and “he [is] ashamed of his own curiosity… she [is], after all, only a woman” (29). O-lan defies the usual mold of a wife by attracting the recognition of her husband. On account of society’s expectations of a wife, Wang Lung immediately regrets his interest in O-lan. Drawing yet more attention from Wang Lung, O-lan works in the field with him. Even after a long day in the sun, O-lan “would have no one with her when the hour [to bear her child] came” (33). Many females coincide with the reputation of weakness, but O-lan shows no sign, even in the midst of childbirth. Similarly, she perseveres numerous times, through a “man’s work” in the field, illustrating her mental and physical strength. While considering China’s deprecation of women, O-lan assuredly frustrates an adamant supporter of such
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