Love of the Land
Throughout the novel, the land is the “good earth”; it nourishes Wang Lung, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When he toils in the fields, he is happy; as a farmer, he knows his true place to be on the land, as it has been for many generations of his family before him. When he is forced by famine to go south to the city, he is out of his element, cut off from what sustains his life, and this contrast between country and city occurs repeatedly throughout the novel. When Wang Lung hears that the young lords of the House of Hwang no longer have any direct contact with the land, he immediately decides that he will start his two young sons working in the fields, “where they would early take into their bones and their blood the feel of the soil under their feet, and the feel of the hoe hard in their hands.” Working on the land restores Wang Lung’s spirits at crucial moments in his life. Whenever he is troubled, physical labor on the land restores him. It liberates him from his unhealthy infatuation with Lotus and has the same effect after the plague of locusts has gone: “For seven days he thought of nothing but his land, and he was healed of his troubles and his fears.” While all else in life may fluctuate, the land alone remains. Even when Wang Lung is old and rich and living in a town house, his link with the land cannot be broken—“his roots were in the land”—and every spring he feels the call to...
(The entire section is 1224 words.)
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