What is the significance of the title, features, and conclusion of the novel The Good Earth?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Pearl Buck's The Good Earth, the protagonist Wang Lung and his family are farmers who must rely on the earth for their survival.  Wang Lung and his family had always been relatively poor and survived with just enough to meet their needs.  However, Wang Lung has a series of lucky spells that, coupled with his and his family's hard work, lead to his becoming increasingly wealthy.  So in this way, the earth has been "good" to Wang Lung because it eventually pays off financially and serves as an element of pride for the family.

The story is structured over the course of a journey--narrated from the third person, the story carries Wang Lung and his family from their initial home, through hard weather, to the southern parts of China, back to their home, and then to a richer house.

At the end of the novel, Wang Lung makes his two sons promise never to sell their land because the land is the source of all their pride.  The sons agree, but their facial gestures suggest that they are lying to appease their dying father.  This ending paves the way for the second book in Buck's The House of Earth trilogy, Sons.