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The Good Earth

The Good Earth

by Pearl S. Buck

The Good Earth Analysis

Literary Devices in The Good Earth

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

Since time can be a little weird in The Good Earth, we want to give you a couple of facts about the big picture before we start up this magical mystery ride. The novel takes place in China over the...

Narrator Point of View

You'd think that because this is Wang Lung's story, we'd be inside of his head, but not quite. Since The Good Earth is written in third person limited omniscient, we experience the story as if we'r...

Genre

Historical Fiction Buck's novel is just coincidentally historical fiction. In most historical fiction, history plays a big role in the plot and in the characters' lives, but in The Good Earth, hist...

Tone

It doesn't matter what's happening, the tone in this novel is always the same. Things are described matter-of-factly, without emotion, as if a robot with awesome literary skills were watching these...

Writing Style

SimpleYou won't find any flowery prose here. Buck's writing style could be compared to Hemingway's because of its simplicity. There are no parentheses, streams of consciousness, or complicated sent...

What's Up With the Title?

We feel like a broken record. The land, the land, the land. Maybe we should try a different word. Dirt, maybe? Soil? How about terra?The novel is titled The Good Earth because the earth is good. Ye...

What's Up With the Ending?

BUT ONE DAY he saw clearly for a little while. It was a day on which his two sons had come and after they had greeted him courteously they went out and they walked about the house on to the land. N...

Tough-o-Meter

Beyond its simple words, The Good Earth is fairly complex. The good news is that you can choose how complex you want it to be. In easy mode, you can read the novel as if you were Wang Lung. You won...

Plot Analysis

A Good Old Country BoyWang Lung and his family are simple farmers living in the countryside of China. The land gives them food, and the land gives them money. That's the basic idea. Farmers. Farmin...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Tragedy? Doesn't this seem more like a rags-to-riches story? You'd be right… if there were a happy ending. The ending of this novel, though, is anything but happy. Plus, Wang Lung has a...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

Farmer Wang Lung gets married to O-lan, and the two start a family. Things go pretty well, and life is looking up… until a drought comes. During the drought, the family is forced to go South in o...

Trivia

Pearl Buck was a philanthropist, and spent most of her life devoted to humanitarian causes like women's rights, free speech, and abandoned children (source).Ni hao, Sai Zhenzhu! Oh, don't speak Chi...

Steaminess Rating

The PG-13 rating isn't for steaminess. Aside from Wang Lung's brief obsession with Lotus, there isn't anything close to steaminess in this book. We're slapping on the ol' PG-13 rating more for the...

Allusions

King Lear (throughout): Wang Lung calls his first daughter "poor fool," which is what Lear calls CordeliaThe Four Confucian Books (34.40)The Xinhai Revolution (1.64)The Boxer Rebellion (14.92)The O...

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