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Free Study Guide-The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck-Free Book Notes Summary
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CHAPTER 32

Summary

The house is cleared and renovated after the departure of the uncle's son. When his slave delivers a girl, Wang is pleased, for if it had been a boy, he would have a permanent place in the House of Wang. Since it is a girl, she will have no status. The slave is promised a marriage to a farmer after the death of uncle's wife; later she is married to the lad who had caused Ching's death.

Disturbances in the house arise between the two daughters-in-law, one naughty and well bred and the other common and crude. Wang feels that he will have never have peace in his house.

In his old age, Wang Lung discovers a lust for Pear Blossom and cannot understand it. Wang's youngest son announces his plans to join the revolution, and Wang is shattered. Trying to dissuade him, Wang offers his son a slave, but when he chooses Pear Blossom, Wang is dismayed and filled with jealousy and he refuses.

Notes

In this chapter, the problems of a large family living under the same roof are described. Wang feels frustrated because the peace that he is trying to find in his old age seems to elude him. He is even more frustrated when his youngest son decides to join the revolution and angry when his son wants to have Pear Blossom.


The story comes full cycle in this chapter. Wang sits in the House of Hwang, away from the land, and gives orders, much like the old Lord who sold Wang his wife. Wang sends the slave girl out to marry a farmer, just like O-Lan had been sent out with Wang, the farmer. Since she is large and strong, she, like O-Lan will be able to help in the fields. Perhaps the farmer will be successful, and some day live in the House of Wang.

CHAPTER 33

Summary

Wang tries his best to subdue his desire for Pear Blossom, but fails. When he meets her one night, he seduces her, and surprisingly, Pear is willing. Wang then informs his elder two sons about his decision to have Pear Blossom move in with him, and they accept it quietly. The third son, however, is furious at his father's actions and instantly leaves the house. Wang keeps asking Pear Blossom why she has accepted him, and she cries, "Young men are so cruel -- I like old men best".

Notes

Wang feels ashamed of himself that at the age of seventy he still feels lust for Pear Blossom, who is a young girl. She, however, insists that she prefers the gentleness of old men to the fiery passions of young men.

In Chinese custom, a wealthy lord is free to have any woman that he can afford and can change concubines as often as he likes. Wang, however, feels ashamed of bringing Pear Blossom to live with him as his concubine. It is contradictory to the values he learned in his childhood when he was taught to feel contempt and scorn for the extravagant lives of the Lords. His eldest sons accept their father's decision; in fact, the eldest has a look of admiration for his father. The youngest son, however, disapproves, and leaves to join the revolution.

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