In The Good Earth, why did Wang Lung's family move to Hwang house to live?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After enduring through the Great Famine, Wang Lung returns to his home and purchases land from the house of Hwang with money that a rich man in the city gave him, fearing for his life during a riot there.  After some prosperous years, Wang Lung acquires great wealth; however, his wealth gives rise to his desires for more in his life.  When Wang Lung becomes infatuated with a beautiful young woman in a tea house named Lotus, he builds onto his home and brings her to his house along with the servant of the house of Hwang, Cuckoo, with whom O-lan had conflicts while see lived there as a servant, too.  Of course, with three women in the household, there are conflcts; in addition, Wang Lung's nephew desires the wife of his son--Wang Lung has caught him grabbing his daughter-in-law in the courtyard.  For this reason, and upon the insistence of his eldest son, who has become accustomed to a more sophisticated life, Wang Lung buys the Hwang house in the city, hoping to remove his son and daughter-in-law from the nephew as well as his indolent and meddling uncle.  Buying this house where he once came as a humble farmer to purchase a slave for a wife, represents a tremendous accomplishment to Wang Lung, as well.  He enjoys thinking that now he may sit where once the Old Mistress herself sat.

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The Good Earth

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