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Wang Lung and the Hwang family are similar in that wealth destroyed their sense of morality and family values. The House of Hwang fell into ruin and bandits stole the money from the house. The old lord remained, but he was severely addicted to opium and could not function on his own. Wang Lung sees this as the perfect opportunity to get more land because the old lord will sell the land for a good price to maintain his drug habit. Wang Lung is enticed by the symbol of wealth that the Hwang house carries, and he dreams of one day being able to have a house like it for him and his family. When Wang Lung does become wealthy, he begins to lose his sense of morality in order to gain symbols of wealth. For example, he takes O-lan's pearls to give to Lotus, and breaking O-lan's heart is not at all important to Wang Lung compared to keeping Lotus happy. Wang Lung's family is divided, and his wives live in separate courts. His sons fight and disagree with one another's way of life. All this to maintain the image of wealth.
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