Good Earth Essay
The Good Earth is a book about a Chinese man named Wang Lung and his relationship with the earth. Wang Lungs view of the earth contrasts with most people's view of the earth today. He lived in simplicity and then when he became rich, his greatest comfort came from that that was still simple. Today many people are "rich" and are living lives where they are only comforted by the very complicated things. In Wang Lungs life, lotus was very like this.
To Wang Lung, the earth is life. It gives him and his family what they need to live. When he grows very old and is rich, he moves out of his big house and returns to his small earthen house where he used to live. He is comforted when he is back in the house where his children were born and where his family had lived so long in peace and harmony with the earth. Most of all, he is comforted when he is back with his earth, away from the chaos of being rich and back for a short while to a life of innocence and simplicity. Before she died, O-lan, his wife, rarely asked for anything but the necessary of him. She was a simply person, once she found many beautiful jewels and desired to keep only two pearls. Wang Lung did not appreciate her for herself until she was dead, only for what she could do for him and give him. The earth provides Wang Lung with food, shelter, and life and in return he nourishes it with manure and bean curd.
In contrast to Wang Lung, many people today take advantage of what the earth can give. In large cities like New York, a person may have no contact whatsoever with the earth for days. Wang Lung respected the earth and acknowledged it as his life source. Many people today do not respect the earth and do not realize how much it provides them. Wang Lung knew about drouts and did not waste water, but almost everyone in the modern world wastes water as if there was no end now.
Wang Lung was in sense corrupted by his wealth; it made him think only of what mattered to him and not what mattered to others in his life. Many people today are less corrupted by their wealth, perhaps because they were raised with it. Neither Wang Lung nor many people in today's society appreciate who and what that have made them who they are and given them what they have. Wang Lung always had an appreciation for the earth, but he did not appreciate his wife, O-lan, until his treatment of her had pushed her so faraway that there was no way for him to pull her back. She gave him something that mattered to him. She gave him sons, three healthy sons who he cared for and appreciated, but he never once thought of her when she came out to work again after giving birth a child. Many people today, especially in the United States, respect their spouse and realize that you can either take responsibility for the good and the bad or for nothing, but not just for the good. The world at Wang Lung's time was complicated, but he knew only of himself and the land until he had money and his eyes were opened to the whole world around him. He was sheltered by his ignorance, as some people are today from the problems of the world. Some of the people today know about the world's problems but do nothing because they think these problems do not affect them and they have never witnessed them.
People today have basically no respect for the earth and its natural resources, but have respect for all people (we should hope). Wang Lung had respect for the earth, but only respected the few people that society said he must. Neither way is right or wrong, for neither is perfect. In both ways, something that deserves respect gets none. The world will be complicated no matter what happens, a person may be sheltered from the complication, but it will still be there.
*In saying modern people and people today, mainly people from industrialized countries are being referred to.