This book has literally been sitting in my room for years. My grandmother got it for me a while ago and told me it was a classic. I had never even opened the cover. It was always there though. A piece of the clutter that I only occasionally rediscovered when I was looking for something else.
I figured that today would be a good day to actually investigate Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth. Why today? Well because it’s Earth Day. Or at least, that’s what Google told me when I clicked on the doodle.
The Good Earth is a 1931 novel about a Chinese family as the struggle to survive during a famine. The story begins on Wang Lung’s wedding day. Wang Lung’s wife-to-be, works at the house of Hwang, where she is enslaved. Over time, Wan Lung eventually makes enough money to buy some land from Hwang. Unfortunately, they soon encounter a devastating drought that forces the family to move to the city. The rest of the book follows the family through their trials and tribulations as the temptation of a comfortable life sometimes overwhelms their morals.
So in the end, the book is not really about the earth. It does show what a draught can do to people that rely on farming for a living, but the core of the story is really about more. It shows the side of the human struggle that no open really likes to think about. I believe that in general, people in comfortable financial positions will abide by their morals. They will do what they think is right as it does not burden them in some way. But what about when things get tough? That is the true measure of how strongly one believes in morality. That is when the really difficult decisions get made.