The Good Earth

Despite the many mistakes he has made in his lifetime, Wang lung has wise words for his sons in his final day. how do you read the novel's ending, where the brothers seem to have other plans that their father's instructions?


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By the end of the novel the family has changed drastically. The sons have been raised without knowing the value of the land, all they know are monetary riches. They convince Wang Lung to rent the Great House in the city rather remain in the country. Wang Lung, though occasionally enjoying the pleasures of a rich man (for example fine food and clothes, and another concubine named Pear Blossom) never wholly sheds his identity as a farmer. However, his sons, who are eager to sell the land and make more money, represent the changes to come.

His sons come often to visit him, but they are busy living their own lives. One day he overhears them speaking of selling the land to the new railroad that is set to come into town. Wang Lung angrily declares, "Out of the land we came and into it we must go -- and if you will hold your land you can live -- no one can rob you of land" (357). The sons soothe the old man with promises that they'll never sell the land. However, "over the old man's head they looked at the other and smiled" (357).