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Free Study Guide-The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck-Free Book Notes Summary
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CHAPTER 17

Summary

This chapter details many changes for Wang. He buys Ching's land and entrusts his neighbor to the task of overseeing the land. He also tells O-Lan that she does not need to work in the fields any more, for he has hired additional laborers. With their growing family, he feels her work is at home.

Wang's prosperity and the size of his family increase during the chapter. O-Lan delivers twins, a boy and a girl. Wang feels he is prosperous enough to send his oldest son to school so that he can learn to deal effectively with the grain merchants. The second son also desires to go to school, and Wang agrees reluctantly. At school, the boys are named Nung En and Nung Wen, the first word signifying one "whose wealth is from the earth".


Notes

Asking Ching to sell his land, move in with him and become his overseer, is a wise and practical decision for Wang. Throughout the rest of the book, Ching remains a trusted friend.

Wang's family and wealth are growing steadily now. O-Lan no longer works in the fields, but stays home to tend to the children and domestic affairs. During this chapter, she gives birth to twins. Wang buys more and more land and hires more and more laborers. The biggest change, however, appears subtly. The oldest two sons, who are now named Nung En and Nung Wen, go off to school for the first time. This move is significant, for Wang is not educated himself and has never before felt the need to educate his children. To protect his wealth, however, he feels his sons must be taught about the world, about business, and about the grain merchants. The significance, however, is that Wang is sending his children away from the land for the first time.

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