The Good Earth

what is the message of this story?

need help with this book

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The main theme of The Good Earth is announced in its title: it is the good earth itself. The story follows Wang Lung's climb from poverty to riches, from toiling peasant to wealthy landowner. But all along the way-like signposts on a road-you may read messages pointing to the deeper meaning of the story, the life-sustaining bond of human beings with the land. Wang always returns to this.

Wang receives his livelihood and spiritual rejuvenation from the land. He experiences harmony with O-lan working beside him. His sole source of stability is in the land, and this is why he always transforms any material gain into land. You see the decline of the House of Hwang as it becomes separated from the land, and the same seems to hold for Wang when he is apart from his land.

What do you make of the turn in the story by which Wang Lung's fortunes rise-not from the fruit of the earth but from the money and jewels he and O-lan have stolen? Is it possible that the author means that labor and the good earth are not enough? That the poor farmer couldn't survive without a stroke of good fortune or the opportunity to take something from the rich? Or, perhaps this money is the evil seed of the Wang family's eventual disintegration. Frequently in the book, silver and land are presented as opposing values, as when O-lan takes silver for the furniture but won't sell the land before leaving for the south.