How does vanity appear in Chapter 5 of The Good Earth?

Expert Answers

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

At the beginning of Chapter 5, the family is preparing for New Year's celebrations.  Because Wang Lung now has a store of disposable money, he goes to the shops and buys notions that he has never been able to buy before:  red paper squares and food delicacies.  Wang Lung realizes that no one else in the village will be able to afford to buy such luxuries, and he is proud that O-lan will be able to prepare foods like moon cakes that are eaten in the House of Hwang.  Wang Lung is starting to see himself as "above" the other members of his village, and he gloats on his riches.  These feelings of vanity are what hurt Wang Lung in the end.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial