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The Good Earth | Chapter 15 | Summary

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Summary

The gold buys Wang Lung and his family a new start on his land. He buys an ox, seeds, and tools. His neighbor Ching reports that a band of robbers lived in Wang Lung's house while he was away. Ching tells him they associated with Wang Lung's uncle. Wang Lung gives Ching seeds and offers to help plow his fields.

O-lan repairs the house, and they buy new furniture. Wang Lung visits the temple of the earth and admonishes the "piteous" looking gods. Later he is afraid, so he returns to the temple to honor them, because "after all, they have power over earth."

Analysis

Wang Lung and his family may have had it hard in Kiangsu, but those who stayed may have had it harder. Ching survived, but he is a thin, old shadow of himself. His wife died, and he gave his daughter away rather than see her starve. Ching's suffering awakens compassion in Wang Lung. Wang Lung helps Ching out, claiming he is only repaying the debt of the handful of beans Ching once gave him.

Wang Lung is happy to hear his despicable uncle has disappeared. Whereas Wang Lung did everything in his power not to sell his daughter, Wang Lung's uncle sold every last one of his daughters. Wang Lung is angry to hear this news, and it further alienates him from his uncle.

Wang Lung reaffirms his dedication to the earth by buying incense to light in the temple of the earth. He is ecstatic to be home. It seems to him "he had never been away from his land, as indeed, in his heart he never had." This supports the theme of humility and connection to the earth. As long as "the good earth" is in Wang Lung's heart, his heart is "good."

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