The Good Earth | Study Guide

Pearl S. Buck

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The Good Earth | Chapter 34 | Summary

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Summary

Pear Blossom is a comfort to Wang Lung in his old age. She agrees to take care of Wang Lung's oldest daughter when he dies. Cuckoo and Lotus sit together often and gossip like friends. Wang Lung inquires about the number of grandchildren he has, which is now 19.

Finally, Wang Lung returns to his land to "live out [his] few days" and to die. He takes Pear Blossom, his poor fool, and some servants. Nung En and Nung Wen visit him there. One day Wang Lung overhears them saying they will sell the land. He is angry, and so to calm him down his sons deny they will never sell. However, "over the old man's head they looked at each other and smiled."

Analysis

Pear Blossom turns out to be a blessing and a comfort to Wang Lung in his old age. Unlike Lotus who utterly rejected Wang Lung's oldest daughter, Pear Blossom is respectful and protective of Wang Lung's "poor fool." She promises to "take this poor fool for mine because you have been kind to me." Pear Blossom combines the beauty of Lotus and the humble faithfulness of O-lan. She might be considered his reward for his dedication to his land.

Wang Lung has achieved his objective. He has founded a great house but stayed (mostly) true to his virtuous farming roots. But his sons threaten his legacy with their plan to sell off the land. "If you sell the land, it is the end," he warns them. They have been raised as rich sons of a lord. They do not understand Wang Lung's journey or his warning to stay connected to the land. Their smile at each other is a sure sign they will disregard his wishes. Their smiles may well lead to the downfall of the House of Wang.

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