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Free Study Guide-The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck-Free Book Notes Summary
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CHAPTER 29

Summary

Wang, at the last moment, feels reluctant to leave his own home. His ties to the land are still extremely strong. He sends the rest of the family to the Great House without him. Only the uncle and his family stay in the old house. Wang himself promises to move before his grandson is born.

With the immediate family gone from the house, Wang becomes even more reliant upon Ching, his most trusted friend and advisor. In fact, he helps Wang in choosing a wife for his second son and arranging the wedding. Wang is pleased to have this accomplished, for now he only has one more son to worry about.

The uncle's son comes to Wang for money, for he wants to go and join the war in the North. Wang gladly helps him, for both he and his son want to be rid of him.

When it is time for Nun En's wife to have her baby, Wang asks the gods to make the child a boy. He wants to know that his lineage will continue. Wang is pleased when he is presented with a grandson. He is amazed, however, at the difference in the birthing process for his daughter-in-law. He remembers that when O-Lan gave birth, she quietly went into the room by herself and delivered her baby alone. In contrast, Nun En's wife moans and cries and has servants running everywhere to wait on her.

Shortly after the grandson is born, Ching dies, which grieves him more than when his father died. Wang wants to bury him in the place where Wang's own family is buried, but the older son objects. As a result, Wang buries him down the hill.


It is now time for Wang to move to the new house. He leaves the uncle and his wife behind in the old house and with his "poor fool," he goes to make a new life for himself in the old House of Hwang. It is a significant move for Wang since he is further breaking his physical tie with the land. In addition, he decides, since Ching is gone, to rent his land to others, making his break with the land even more obvious.

Notes

Wang's reluctance to leave his house shows his strong ties to his land and his deep relation to the earth, which has given him everything he has asked for and more. But in the end he moves out of the old family house and rents his land out to others, making a complete break with the land for the first time. It is ironic that he is going to live in the House of Hwang, which awed him earlier in life and which he criticized later for their non-productive lifestyle. Now Wang's own lifestyle is given to leisure rather than work.

It is important to notice the comparison between the birth process of Nun En's wife and that of O-Lan. The sturdiness of the old generation, used to hard work, and the delicacy and fragility of the newer generation, unused to such toil, is portrayed beautifully.

It is also important to notice the son's reaction to his father's mourning the passing of Ching. The son callously says to his father that Ching was "only an upper servant, and it is not suitable so to mourn for a servant". He also convinces his father that it would be inappropriate to bury Ching in the family burial plot.

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