The Good Earth | Study Guide

Pearl S. Buck

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The Good Earth | Chapter 10 | Summary



Wang Lung and his family close up the house and leave. At first Wang Lung carries his daughter but passes her off when he has to help his father walk. The wind is cold and bitter. They pass the House of Hwang, which is closed up. Beggars curse at its gates.

After going through town, they meet up with a throng of others heading south. They hear of a "firewagon" that can carry them south.


O-lan has lived through many rough times, and she goes about their newest adventure with calm and determination. The rice bowls and chopsticks she places in her children's hands are symbols of her hope. Indeed the children "held them tight as a promise of food to come." She passes on this hope to her children when they complain of the cold. In the south there is warmth and "white rice every day for all of us," she promises.

Wang Lung's family has the luck of coming into town at the same time as the "firewagon." This is likely a train, although these were not common for the time period. They are fortunate because none has the strength to walk far enough south to survive.

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