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Teachers and educators: Get the most from your time in the classroom when you use this lesson plan for Pearl S. Buck's classic novel The Good Earth. In addition to providing comprehensive character analyses, this lesson plan offers guidance in conveying the novel's primary themes, including gender roles and the potential of wealth to corrupt. Examples of guided discussion and study questions from this lesson plan include the following:
- What do we learn about Wang Lung in The Good Earth as we see him making preparations for his wedding day? Although he is poor and recognizes his social status, he has pride. He is not well educated in the ways of the world. He is an honest, good-hearted young man whose "religion" is mixed with superstition.
- Describe Wang Lung's entrance into the House of Hwang on his wedding day. He approaches the great house with fear and apprehension; mostly because he is of such a lower social standing, but also because he is coming for his wife and isn't sure what to do or to expect. The gateman takes advantage of Wang Lung's innocence and treats him roughly.
- Who is O-lan in The Good Earth? Describe her. She is Wang Lung's new wife. She is not pretty, being tall and broad-featured with large feet. She is calm, quiet, hard-working, eager to please, and possesses a great deal of inner strength.
- In The Good Earth, Why did Wang Lung say that O-lan was "a woman such as is not commonly found"? O-lan worked side-by-side with him in the fields until it was time for the baby to come. While in labor, she prepared the evening meal, then she went alone to her room to have the baby. All she required from Wang Lung was for him to give her a sharp reed with which to cut the cord. Then, after giving birth, she cleaned the baby, herself and her room.
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