why is opium such a prevalent drug in the novel? and why do the rich people destroy themselves taking the drug?
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Opium has a difficult and painful history in China. It was introduced by the British during the Opium Wars, when they essentially defeated the Chinese and forced them to allow it to be imported. It quickly became on of the most profitable imports, and was a favorite of the rich elite. Pearl S. Buck highlights the danger of opium by showing how it destroys the most ambitious people and ruins lives.