The Good Earth

For Wang Lung and his family ,what are the challenges they face when obtaining food ?


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On their way south, Wang Lung buys some bread and rice for the family with his meager funds. They have starved for so long that they have to be coaxed to eat. Wang Lung overhears talk of the south in the wagon; he learns that he needs to buy mats to make a refuge and that they should be prepared to beg. Wang Lung would rather work, as he considers begging to be beneath him.

Upon their arrival in the south, the family is disoriented; the southern accent is difficult to understand and the locals either ignore or threaten them. Nevertheless, they finally find the refugee area and O-lan, who has lived in such conditions before, builds them a shelter from mats. They then go to the public kitchens, full of starving people. The family eats; the food has been donated by the rich and none of it can leave the kitchen, for some people have taken rice to feed their animals.

O-lan, who has begged during her childhood, instructs the children on what to say to get money. The children find begging fun until O-lan beats them; when they are chastened she declares them fit to beg.

Meanwhile, Wang Lung works as a rickshaw driver. The work is hard and the pay is very low -- he ends the day with only one penny more than the cost of renting the rickshaw. He comforts himself with thoughts of his land.

When he arrives "home" he sees that the family has made enough money begging to feed themselves for another day. The younger boy will not part with his money; he wants to sleep with it and only lets it go in exchange for food. The old man has not begged. He has done his share of work in this lifetime, and now, as tradition dictates, his children and grandchildren will take care of him.


During the drought?


When winter breaks, the family must brace itself for hard times because of the drought. We get a glimpse into O-lan's past life when she says that they can eat the corn husks instead of using them for fuel. According to her: "It is better than grass" (70). Worst of all, however, O-lan is once again pregnant. She convinces Wang Lung that they must eat the ox, even slaughtering the beast when Wang Lung proves unwilling to do so himself.


Thank You :)

Then not in the drought also have?

I'm not sure what do you mean....... the first part of the answer deals with the effects of the drought while Wang Lung's family is home, prior to traveling south to the city. The second part of the answer relates to what happened after they'd left their home for the south.

Do they face any challenges during normal period when obtaining food? :)

The amount of food the family had depended greatly upon the crops. Wang Lung begins the story with a small amount of land and a small crop. Over time, he saves money, buys a wife (who also acts as another hand in the field and well as taking care of the home), buys more land and becomes a wealthy man.

You can see in Chapter One, that Wang Lung spends more than normal for his wedding feast. Prior to his acquisition of wealth, this was an extremely indulgent and infrequent act. He also buys O'lan peaches, probably the most precious thing he ever does for her.

Thank You ! :)