The Good Earth

How does O-lan feel about her son?

The good earth

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O-lan is a slave at the House of Hwang from the age of ten until about twenty, when she is given to Wang Lung as his wife. She is not pretty, and says little. However, she becomes a hard-working and loyal wife, running the household well, and helping Wang Lung in the fields. She also produces three sons and two daughters. Even though O-lan has much down-to-earth, practical wisdom, never complains about her lot, and offers her husband sound advice, Wang Lung does not regard her as his equal. Nor does he love her, a bitter fact that O-lan is aware of. When Wang Lung becomes wealthy, he takes a mistress, no longer sleeps with O-lan, and criticizes her cruelly. O-lan dies after a long illness, clinging to life just long enough to see her eldest son married.