Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


Village. Unnamed Chinese village west of a great city, in which the novel is set. The village has only one main street and a population of fewer than one hundred people, which suggests that it contains perhaps fifteen to twenty households. The village has one teahouse and several households that maintain small shops as a sideline activity. Except for those working in the shops, the inhabitants are farmers. Ling Tan has several male relatives in the village, but it is unclear if his family lineage is dominant. The novel mentions no temples, schools, or lineage halls in the village. The village is close enough to the great city for its residents to see the city walls and to walk there and return in one day. All the village families give some support to the anti-Japanese resistance.

Ling Tan’s house

Ling Tan’s house. Home of a village family headed by its patriarch, Ling Tan. The family includes five children, three boys and two girls. Ling Tan is a simple farmer who is happy to see his family well provided for through their collective labor. He owns a few cattle, pigs, and chickens. As in Pearl Buck’s other novels, The Dragon Seed emphasizes her protagonists’ deep attachment to their home and fields. The ten members of the Ling family live in a substantial eight-room house surrounded by a wall and secured by a strong gate.

At first, the Ling family members are not harmed as the...

(The entire section is 480 words.)