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Wealth and weather affect traditional family roles. Unable to work so much work himself, Wang Lung buys out Ching and employs his services. Ching becomes the overseer of Wang Lung's workers, who live in Wang Lung's old house while he moves into a large house with his family. Wang Lung makes his sons work in the fields to keep them from growing lazy, but O-lan's days of such labor are over. O-lan gives birth to twins, a girl and a boy. Wang Lung jokes that she kept the two pearls as a symbol for these twins. Meanwhile, Wang Lung's land yields seven abundant harvests, enough to ensure that they never have to leave their land in times of famine, draught or flood.
As Wang Lung grows rich, his shortcomings begin to bother him. He is ashamed of his illiteracy and sends his older son to school so that he can serve as a scribe for his father. His son, who always desired to go to school, is overjoyed, and his younger son insists upon being sent as well. He is very proud of this fact. At school, his sons become known as Nung En (the eldest) and Nung Wen (the younger), with "Nung" signifying that their weath comes from the earth.