Daniel Kang
Ms. Menard
Honors English 8
13 May 2014
Gender Roles in The Good Earth
Pearl S. Buck\'s opinion about the gender roles of China of the time is plainly written in her texts of The Good Earth. In the book, Wang Lung treats woman differently based on their looks. In the beginning of the story, Wang Lung treats O-lan as an equal because she works and cooks and at that time, that is all that he cared about. Then, after Wang Lung buys the land and becomes very prosperous off of it, he suddenly, as if a veil had been lifted from his eyes, he notices O-lan\'s ugliness. Lotus on the other hand, is treated a totally different way by Wang Lung. Lotus comes into play when Cuckoo tempts Wang Lung at a teahouse. He adores Lotus and gives her everything she desires in return for her satisfying his lust. Pearl S. Buck shows that beauty ranked a woman not their usefulness. One of the main topics that Pearl S. Buck focuses on in this book is how unfair women were treated. She shows the reader that Wang Lung made a mistake near the end of the book when O-lan dies. Wang Lung is very proud of his sons. Then, he remembers that it was O-lan that gave birth to them. He regrets how he mistreated O-lan. The author does a great job showing the reader the violation of women\'s rights and how it should be changed.



Gender roles play a great role in China during the time period that The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck takes place. Women, were just property in Wang Lung\'s household. Wang Lung definitely shows favoritism in woman. "He saw for the first time that her hair was rough and brown and unoiled and that her face was large and flat and coarse-skinned, and her features too large altogether and without any sort of beauty or light. Her eyebrows were scattered and the hairs too few, and her lips were too wide, and her hands and feet were large and spreading" (The Good Earth 169). After becoming rich, Wang Lung starts to notice O-lan\'s ugliness and becomes angry. Treasured by Wang Lung, Lotus satisfies him. Cuckoo, previously a slave in the House of Hwang, said to Wang Lung, "There they are, their pictures. Choose which one you wish to see and put the silver in my hand and I will place her before you" (The Good Earth 176). Wang Lung is tempted into a life of lust by Cuckoo. He meets Lotus and can never stop seeing her. He goes to great lengths to ensure that Lotus is his. He brings her to his house and adores her. The difference between men and women becomes a main focus of the book. Pearl S. Buck wrote this book to signify the importance of gender roles. Wang Lung appreciates O-lan for her sons and as time goes on and he becomes rich, he notices her ugliness and gives his attention to a woman named Lotus. Gender roles play an important part in this book and are signified in the way Wang Lung treats the women in his life.