Good Earth Olan Essay

2307 words - 10 pages

Good Earth Olan

Throughout The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, O-lan showed herself as a very humble woman. O-lan was a slave in the House of Hwang before her marriage was arranged by the Old Mistress of the House of Hwang. O-lan was faithful throughout the book to Wang Lung through harvest, famine, and even when Wang Lung brought home another woman. O-lan was a hard worker and worked even when no one told her to. She had wisdom that only a slave and a hardworking woman could acquire. Pearl S. Buck reveals many things that all show O-lan to be the humble woman she was.

O-lan's physical appearance showed her as a very modest woman. When Wang Lung sees her, he stares at ...view middle of the document...

Many times, O-lan is fearful of speaking. When it is the first time taking hot water to the old man, she tells Wang Lung fearfully, "'I took no tea to the Old One-I did as you said-but to you I . . .'" (27). O-lan listens well to Wang Lung, but fears that she is not doing her jobs correctly. O-lan's timidity when she first gets married is only natural for her situation. At the beginning of the novel, she rarely speaks up. A little after the marriage, O-lan gets used to having a husband and begins to act more boldly and also becomes smarter. When O-lan is about to give birth to their first child, Wang Lung tells O-lan that they should get some woman from the House of Hwang to help her give birth, but she says, "'None in that house!'. . . 'When I return to that house it will be with my child in my arms'" (33). She is miserable growing up in the House of Hwang because she has to work hard as a slave and she doesn't like the people there. She is proud that she is away from the House of Hwang and that she has a husband. When the drought hits their farmland, O-lan and Wang Lung are talking about moving to the South and selling their furniture. O-lan tells Wang Lung, "'The land we will not sell'" (87) because the land is precious and will always be worth something. O-lan is beginning to speak her own opinion and she knows how important the land is to her family. The land is the basis of Wang Lung's life and without it he and his family would starve. O-lan becomes braver as she gets used to being around a man and she stops being scared and quiet. As years go by and time progresses, she begins to speak more of her mind. An example of this is when Cuckoo, Lotus' servant comes to Wang Lung's house, he notices that O-lan despises Cuckoo. When asked about it, she replies, "I bore her haughty looks all during my youth in the great house and her running into the kitchen a score of times a day and crying out 'now tea for the lord' - 'now food for the lord' - and it was always this is too hot and that is too cold, and that is badly cooked, and I was too ugly and too slow and too this and too that."(204). O-lan also said to Cuckoo, "Well, and if I am ugly, still I have borne a son; although I am but a slave there is a son in my house. . . . Beauty will not bear a man sons!" (268). It is right that O-lan is revealing how she feels because, after all, she is a part of the success that their family is enjoying. Though she did say some signifigant things in the story, O-lan had one major fault, which was her silence and reluctance to stand up for herself.

O-lan did many significant things that showed her to be the modest woman she was. One thing that is constant throughout The Good Earth is that O-lan is a very good worker and she has many talents, just as the Old Lady in the Great House of Hwang has said. . O-lan goes out into the fields and works day after day, even when she is pregnant, when she could be in the house doing housework. She works...

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