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Characters

Meet the Cast

Wang Lung

Wang Lung is your all-American, hard-working, small-town boy. Well, except that he's Chinese. He's a good old boy; he's loyal, informal, and (at least when we first meet him), he's got strong moral...

O-lan

You know how they say that behind every great man, there's a great woman? Well if Wang Lung is a great man, then O-lan is an even greater woman. She's running the show here, folks. O-lan is the rea...

First Son (Nung En) and His Wife

The First SonMan, Wang Lung and O-lan sure are proud parents. They love this kid. They think he's totally the best: "As for our son, there was not even a child among the concubines of the Old Maste...

Second Son (Nung Wen) and His Wife

The Second SonWhen the second son is born Wang Lung and O-lan aren't quite as excited as they were the first time around. He's just not as impressive: "O-Ian had lain herself upon the bed after the...

Ching

If someone were to describe Ching, we wouldn't be surprised if they said he was like a brown paper bag. He's good at what he does, and he can do lots of things, but in the end he's just kind of bor...

First Daughter

Wang Lung's first daughter is an unlucky child. Of course, just being a girl makes her unlucky, but she's also unlucky because she's born in the middle of a great famine. Let's just say the this gi...

Lotus and Cuckoo

LotusIf O-lan shows us what’s considered ugly, then Lotus shows us what's considered beautiful—and frankly, it's not pretty, at least on the inside. Where O-lan is big, brown, and big-footed, L...

Pear Blossom, Lotus' Slave

Pear Blossom is the new Lotus. She even has a flower name, just like Lotus does.Pear Blossom arrives at Wang Lung's house as a malnourished seven-year-old girl, and Wang Lung only buys her to pleas...

The House of Hwang

The Old Lord This guy is the biggest big shot in town. He's the head of the House of Hwang and the richest man around. He may have been a respectable man at first, but over time, he and his family...

The Other Daughters

Oh, yeah: Wang Lung has some other kids, but they're just girls, so they don't matter.Second Daughter O-lan kills this daughter as soon as she is born. She is born right in the middle of the famine...

Third Son

Who, What Now?Wang Lung's third son gets no love. He's almost always ignored: “There was none to trouble him, for his youngest son was a silent lad who kept out of his father's way and Wang Lung...

Wang Lung's Father (Grandpa)

Ah, the patriarch. Even though he begins the novel attempting to be strong and tough, for most of the novel Wang Lung's father is like a child. He's sick from the very first line of the book: “Th...

Wang Lung's Uncle and Family

Gallant, Meet GoofusRemember that old Highlights comic Goofus and Gallant? Here's the setup: Gallant is the good kid, and he does all the correct stuff; Goofus is the bad kid, and he does all the w...
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