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In Chapter 5 of The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, Wang Lung declares, "Land is one's flesh and blood." Clearly, then, Wang Lung perceives land as that which sustains all life, for from the land he and his family are fed, and from the sale of his crops, he is able to purchase things and be warm and well-fed in the winter.
In Chapter 8, after he purchases the field from the House of Hwang, he is able to obtain a harvest from it, but loses all the others to a drought. For, by watering this field from a nearby moat, Wang Lung keeps his crop alive. Then, he sells the crop as quickly as it is harvested, an action that is uncharacteristic of him. As soon as he feels the silver in his hands, Wang Lung rushes to the House of Hwang and accosts the land agent,
"I have that with which to buy the land adjoining mine by the moat."
The agent hungrily takes the money, speaking in an eager whisper. And, Wang Lung does not bemoan the loss of the silver because he has
bought with it the desire of his heart...But more to him than its dark fertility was the fact that it had belonged once to the family of a prince. And this time he told no one, not even O'lan, what he had done.
And, when there are no crops and no food to eat and the villager rob his family of their food and furniture, leaving his house empty, Wang Lung consoles himself by saying to his heart,
"They cannot take the land from me....If I had the silver, they would have taken it. If I had bought with the silver to store it, they would have taken it all. I have the land still, and it is mine."
Wang Lung realizes that the land is the one reality, the one constant in his life. Unlike everything else is temporal; the land is eternal. When the rains come, he will be able to grow more crops, if only he can afford seed. In addition, he is proud to own land that once belonged to the noble House of Hwang.
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