Homework Help

In Pearl Buck's novel The Good Earth, why does O-lan hate Cuckoo so much? I am...

user profile pic

determination... | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 14, 2008 at 11:30 PM via web

dislike 2 like

In Pearl Buck's novel The Good Earth, why does O-lan hate Cuckoo so much? 

I am currently reading The Good Earth and I don't completely understand why O-lan hates Cuckoo so much.  Could someone please explain this to me?

4 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 15, 2008 at 1:04 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

The basis of O-lan's lifelong enmity for Cuckoo is that when they were both slaves in the House of Hwang, Cuckoo did not treat O-lan well (Chapters 20-22).  Because of this, O-lan will not speak to Cuckoo, and Wang Lung must build separate kitchens for them when Cuckoo moves into his house.

It is interesting to note that while it is Cuckoo who facilitates the relationship between Wang Lung and his mistress Lotus, this is not the main reason that O-lan hates Cuckoo.  In a clear illustration of the cultural mores governing the place of women in China at that time, O-lan, who has worked tirelessly by Wang Lung's side for so many years, can accept that he does not love her and treats her badly; she can even tolerate having his concubine under her roof.  What she cannot let go of are her bitter feelings towards Cuckoo - the hatred and resentment against another woman who has dealt with her with cruelty and disrespect.


user profile pic

deedeebaybee4693 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 22, 2008 at 11:01 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

she iNsulted aNd beRated O-laN CoNstaNtly.

user profile pic

gogryphons | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted February 18, 2009 at 9:24 AM (Answer #3)

dislike 0 like

O-Lan used to take orders from cukoo and cukoo was very VERY mean to her so of course there will be some tension there!


user profile pic

tokio-hotel-grl | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 6, 2009 at 7:43 AM (Answer #4)

dislike 0 like

the reson o lan dose not like cuckoo is because cucook and o lan were in the hose of hwange and now cucook is on o lans house and was treaed bad back then and is treted bad now mabey even worst.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes