Before the famine, Wang Lung worships the local Earth deities who are in a temple built by his grandfather. The two god figures are clothed annually by all the villagers as part of the New Year celebrations. In his early years, Wang Lung was happy with the gods. But the flood made him the cruel side of the providence of the Earth deities.
Wang Lung blames them for the famine and believes that the Earth gods, representative of the "Old Man" in Heaven, enjoy seeing human suffering; this new bitter attitude carries on with him even to the time of the flood. When he goes to the temple after the famine, Wang Lung spits on the statues of the Earth deities and call the "Old Man" in Heaven "wicked" and accuses him of actually desiring misfortune for humanity.