Study Guide

Pear Blossom, Lotus' Slave in The Good Earth

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 please Lotus. Then... then things get more complicated.

Who's The Fairest One of All?

Somehow, everyone is attracted to Pear Blossom. Wang Lung's cousin, Wang Lung's son, even Wang Lung himself: you name it. They all want her.

Even Lotus doesn't cause this much trouble. If you've read Lotus's "Character Analysis," you'll know that one of the things that makes her beautiful is her helplessness. Well, Pear Blossom has helplessness in spades: she's half-starved, after all. No wonder everyone thinks she's so sexy, right? Because total helplessness is a huge turn-on, right? Right?

What Happens to the Pretty Girls

O-lan teaches us what is ugly, and Lotus teaches us what is beautiful in this society. Through O-lan, we get to know how ugly girls are treated, but we still don't really know how pretty girls are treated. Pear Blossom lets us know.

There's a reason why Pear Blossom freaks out when Wang Lung's cousin wants to marry her, and it's not just that he's scary. At first it's confusing when Pear Blossom insists, "I like old men—I like old men—they are so kind— […] Young men are not kind—they are only fierce" (32.84).

Everything makes sense when Wang Lung asks Pear Blossom why she hates young men so much. She responds, "'Every man I hate except you—I have hated every man, even my father who sold me. I have heard only evil of them and I hate them all.' And he said wondering, 'Now I should have said you had lived quietly and easily in my courts.' 'I am filled with loathing,' she said, looking away, 'I am filled with loathing and I hate them all. I hate all young men'" (34.22).

It's rape, folks. People have often talked about how pretty women are routinely raped by the Young Lords in the novel, but no one has really talked about these women's feelings. Through Pear Blossom, we can see how these things might actually affect a young girl. Remember that she says she even hates her father—and that she was only seven when she was sold. No wonder she hates men.