What is the resolution in The Good Earth?

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sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Unfortunately, the resolution to Pearl Buck's "The Good Earth" is not a happy one for readers.  It might be more true to life than a lot of stories, but that doesn't mean I enjoy depressing endings because they are more realistic.  The entire story is about Wang Lung's struggle to make a living and be financially secure.  He starts off poor, but is able to make a decent living farming.  Then he becomes really really poor. He and his kids have to resort to begging.  Then he steals a ton of money in a rebellion of sorts.  He uses the money to become a wealthy and stable landowner/farmer.  Things are looking good so far.  

And then the falling action and resolution comes along.  Wang Lung's wife is dying.  His kids are always fighting over the money and not taking care of it well.  He's getting older and older and eventually stops caring what his kids do to ruin the family's wealth.  The story concludes with Wang Lung's children deciding to sell off all of the land that made them rich in the first place.  

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