In The Good Earth, what is the complex relationship Wang Lung has with the city because its abundance of food contrasts with his life?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Good Earth, Wang Lung and his family have moved south to find food because their land has suffered in the drought.  When they get south, Wang Lung takes a job as a rickshaw driver which offers him the opportunity to see many sides of life in the city.  He takes on passengers who want to go into the market square, and here Wang Lung sees all the delicacies that are on sale to those who can afford their price.  However, Wang Lung and his family are still eating the gruel that they get in line in their part of town.  Wang Lung is outraged by the difference in the lifestyle that his family has to live as compared to the livestyles of the richer city dwellers.  But even through his outrage, Wang Lung is still awed by the riches in the city and this fuels his desire to return to his land and acquire his own riches.  So, Wang Lung's relationship with the city is conflicted because he feels both disgusted and awed by the riches that he sees there.