The Good Earth

Example of Mob Mentality in The Good Earth

What is an example of mob mentality in the novel The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck?

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In Chapter 14, we see the perfect example of mob mentality when the large group of the poor, starving citizens of the city break into the Great House and strip it of its riches.

The power of the mob versus the individual is also marked in this chapter. It is the collective force of the people that makes it possible for the great divide between rich and poor to come down. The large gathering of discontented people seems to infect individuals, changing them for the worse. Just as at Wang Lung's farm, when his uncle incited a mob against him, people act out of greed and passion within the chaos of mass-consciousness. The mob also makes its way into Wang Lung. When he is confronted with the rich man willing to exchange his life for gold Wang Lung is like another man: he speaks with a harshness he never knew he had, he who had been unable to kill an ox to feed his starving family. Even such a meek sentimentalist as he is affected.