In The Good Earth, what qualities do Mr. Lim and Lili share?

Mr. Lim and Lili are both well educated and well mannered. They show great respect to Mrs. Pan as she is their elder. Although they grew up in America, both of these characters are aware of and respectful of the Chinese customs of their parents' generation.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Lili Yang and James Lim share some qualities that make them a good match in the eyes of Mrs. Pan. They are both educated, Lili having likely received a degree in social work and Mr. Lim still attending university in pursuit of a graduate degree. Mr. Lim is studying to be a doctor, something that Lili would have liked to do as well, but she could not afford it. This suggests that they both have a calling to help others. Lili and Mr. Lim are bilingual, speaking Chinese and English fluently. Physically, Mr. Lim and Lilli are not attractive. At least Mrs. Pan does not think that they are. However, unattractiveness is a positive quality as far as the old woman is concerned.

Lili and Mr. Lim are both very respectful and deferential to their elders. Though they both grew up in America, Lili and Mr. Lim follow the Chinese customs of always being courteous to those of older generations. We see this as soon as we meet each of the two characters as they both insist that Mrs. Pan be comfortable and sit down. They both know to address her as "Ancient One." This likely makes Mrs. Pan all the more eager to match them up.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team