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One day, Wang Lung's oldest son comes to say that he wants to go to the South. Wang Lung doesn't let him. Not only that: he also gets angry at all of the finery that his son has, even though that's exactly the thing that he's been proud of all this time.
Suddenly the kid isn't emo anymore. Wang Lung thinks this is great, but we're a little suspicious. Everything calms down for a while, until O-lan reveals a secret. Their oldest son has been going to see Lotus, and she's not too happy about it.
Wang Lung doesn't believe that at first, but he surprises his son and Lotus by coming back early from the field. This is probably the most violent scene in the whole novel, and you should probably read it just to see how angry Wang Lung can get.
Wang Lung beats his son until he bleeds. When it is all over he tells him to pack his bags and go to the city.