What impact did life in Kiangsu have on Wang Lung’s sons in The Good Earth?
City life is very different from the rural life that Wang Lung and his family knew before they moved to Kiangsu out of need and desperation. In particular, what disturbs Wang Lung greatly is the way that his family seems to be changing as a result of the new realities they are facing, especially in relation to their idea of what is right and what is wrong. He is forced to confront the fact that the poverty and want that his family are faced with is turning his sons into nothing more than people who rob from others to supply their own lack. Note how Wang Lung responds when one evening he comes home to find pork in the evening meal:
Wang Lung said nothing then, but he was angry and afraid in his heart because his sons were growing into thieves here in this city.
For Wang Lung, detaching himself and his family from their land and the earth that sustains them is having a corruptive influence on his sons that he is bitterly sad about.