Many times those who benefit from their hard work fail to include those who have
contributed to it. Often these contributors are left out when the rewards are reaped. Such is the case in The Good Earth, written by Pearl S. Buck in 1923. The man named Wang Lung received many dividends for his dedication to the land and to his family, and, in many ways, he was deserving of it. Throughout his life, Wang Lung worked hard for the wealth and social status that became of him, but he was not capable of earning it alone, and therefore he did not earn it all himself.
In the earlier years of his life, Wang Lung was humble man. He had little and he needed little. His house was small and it was made of “great squares of earth dug from their Wang Lung and his father’s own fields, and thatched with straw from their own wheat.” Then O-lan arrived from the great house. She took much of the responsibility that Wang had once had, which gave him more time to work his land and eventually buy more land. When difficult times fell upon the Wang Lung family and their land, they traveled south to the city. Although the “great fat fellow”, out of fear, gave Wang Lung the gold, which he used to return to his land, it was O-lan’s ingenuity in searching out the jewels that made Wang Lung a wealthy man. With these jewels, Wang Lung bought much
land from the Great House and he also hired numerous men to work this new land.
In his later years, Wang Lung became conceited and egotistical. He believed that he had achieved his wealth and prosperity alone and that he was extremely deserving of it all. He had become very successful. He had sons in his home, a second wife, a large home, and many slaves. Eventually he even inhabited the Great House. All this he took credit for. In fact, without O-lan , he would have had no sons. In addition to her child bearing, O-lan worked equally as vigorously in the fields as Wang Lung did. Once Wang Lung found O-lan’s jewels, he bought plentiful amounts of land and hired many workers, which left him with little responsibility. With this free time, he frequented the “great tea house” where Lotus had been employed as a prostitute. Without O-lan’s resourcefulness,
Wang Lung would never have gained the commodities which classified him as a man of wealth and made his life easier.
Wang Lung was a hard-working individual and he was well deserving of most of what he gained in life. He also had many faults. He was faithful to neither his gods nor his wife. He was also egotistical, which was taught to him by his society. As a result of these faults, Wang Lung could never have achieved all that he had without his wife, O-lan. O-lan handed him all of the keys to become the wealthy, successful, well-regarded man that he had become.