Peter's Reviews > The Good Earth

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
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M_50x66
's review
Jun 18, 07

Read in June, 2007

I read this book at some point before the age of 18, and remember being capitivated by Buck's seemingly plain but effective writing style and the character of Wang Lung as a guy for whom hard work pays off. Now that I've reread it I have a much clearer picture of what else is at stake here. Specifically, there are lots of ways to critique this by treating it as a portal for Americans into the Chinese culture of its time, but I lack the education to do so intelligently and will thus defer to someone smarter to do this.

Instead some quick impressions: Wang Lung is far less likeable on this goaround than he was when I was a naive teenager. He comes off as vaguely ill-tempered despite the Buck's literal insistence that he's warm-hearted. Reading as an adult it's much easier to scrutinize the way he treats his family than it was for me as a kid. But most critically of all is the way in which he remains, through all of his various trials and tribulations, an ignorant, illiterate man, unaware of the cultural upheaval going on in his country. At some level, this doesn't have to matter to a reader of the book. At another level, though, you have to consider the implications.

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