When a food riot erupts, Wang Lung is swept up in a mob that is looting a rich man's house and corners the man himself, who fears for his life and gives Wang Lung all his money in order to buy his safety. Meanwhile, his wife finds jewels in a hiding place in another house, hiding them between her breasts. Wang Lung uses this money to bring the family home, buy a new ox and farm tools, and hire servants to work the land for him. In time, the youngest children are born, a twin son and daughter.
When he discovers the jewels O-Lan looted from the house in the southern city, Wang Lung buys the House of Hwang's remaining land. He is eventually able to send his first two sons to school also apprenticing the second one as a merchant and retains the third one on the land. As Wang Lung becomes more prosperous, he buys a concubine named Lotus. O-Lan endures the betrayal of her husband when he takes the only jewels she had asked to keep for herself, the two pearls, so that he can make them into earrings to present to Lotus. O-Lan's morale suffers and she eventually dies, but not before witnessing her first son's wedding.
Wang Lung finally appreciates her place in his life, as he mourns her passing. Lung and his family move into town and rent the old House of Hwang. Wang Lung, now an old man, wants peace, but there are always disputes, especially between his first and second sons, and particularly their wives. Wang Lung's third son runs away to become a soldier. At the end of the novel, Wang Lung overhears his sons planning to sell the land and tries to dissuade them. They say that they will do as he wishes, but smile knowingly at each other.
Nov 27, Henry Avila rated it it was amazing. Wang Lung on his wedding day gets up at dawn as usual, a poor Chinese farmer's son, who lives with his widowed old father, but is a very hardworking, strong, and ambitious young man, they occupy, a three room house made of dirt bricks, with a straw thatched roof. After getting his ill father hot water, feeding the ox and doing the rest of the chores, Wang for the second time in the year, takes a bath secretly, with the precious water , ashamed to waste it, for such an unnecessary thing, hiding f Wang Lung on his wedding day gets up at dawn as usual, a poor Chinese farmer's son, who lives with his widowed old father, but is a very hardworking, strong, and ambitious young man, they occupy, a three room house made of dirt bricks, with a straw thatched roof.
After getting his ill father hot water, feeding the ox and doing the rest of the chores, Wang for the second time in the year, takes a bath secretly, with the precious water , ashamed to waste it, for such an unnecessary thing, hiding from his father this dishonorable deed.
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Putting on his best clothes, going for a long walk later, to the Great House of Hwang, the guard at the gate mocks him, demands a bribe for entrance, everywhere laughs are heard, as the farmer travels through the large luxurious estate, with so many beautiful houses. Amazingly looking objects, the bridegroom sees, never knowing of their existence, meeting O-Lan, his bride, for the first time, she is a tall plain looking woman, an unwanted slave, in the great house, beaten everyday, for no apparent reason, maybe to keep strict discipline there.
O-Lan was sold by her poor family at ten, and has worked as a slave ever since, she is about twenty years old Talking to the Old Mistress of the house, scared of her Eminence, is the awed farmer, all had been arranged by his father, bringing the bride back home, no real wedding ceremony, the old one is happy that he will be a grandfather, hopefully soon, grandsons, the only ones that count in China, in the late 19th Century.
The small wedding feast, just five guests, including his lazy uncle, younger brother of his father, his son the cousin also indolent and three neighbors, Wang and his woman are both virgins on their wedding night. O-Lan is also hard working, a fine cook, always taking care of the house, the old man , in the fields with her husband, giving birth alone, to many sons daughters also , and then the same day going back to help with the plowing. Silently, without complaints, a perfect wife, if only she wasn't so bad looking Wang thinks After good harvests, buying land from the faltering House of Hwang, a famine occurs, people are starving to death, the uncle , his wife and son, are always asking for food and money, from Wang, when there is none, Wang has to decide stay and maybe die or go south , with his family, to a city where food is in abundance and abandon his land , that he loves, maybe forever, his modest dreams crushed, the desperate struggles, the backbreaking work, the scorching Sun beating down, the freezing mornings, cold to the bone, done for nothing?
Spellbinding story of a destitute peasant family, climbing literally from rags to riches and encountering difficulties as the new Twentieth Century arrives. Can they survive the changing, callous world? View all 18 comments. Oct 08, Peter Tieryas rated it it was amazing.
I found this to be an incredibly moving and humanistic story, full of anger, tragedy, joy, and the elements that make for a great novel. It's a story any person in any country can relate to. The writing is beautiful and reads like a parable more than straight documentation or history, which was her intent, and a tribute to many of the old Chinese tales I've read now reading it at an older age, I see a lot of references and tributes to other Chinese works I had not known of before.
That is also I found this to be an incredibly moving and humanistic story, full of anger, tragedy, joy, and the elements that make for a great novel. That is also part of its allure and I don't know if I could have appreciated it as much if I had not read it when I was younger first.
Buck, an American citizen who spent most of her childhood and much of her adult life in China, in It was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in I've heard much about it, mostly about a moment in the story when a woman gives birth and then goes back to work in the fields the same day, and have wanted to read it for quite some time. I think it's always intimidating to read a classic. They are usually reserved for English classes or intellectuals and I worry that my understand Written by Pearl S. They are usually reserved for English classes or intellectuals and I worry that my understanding won't be up to snuff.
The story begins on Wang Lung's wedding day. He is a peasant farmer, in China, who goes to the house of a wealthy farmer to pick up the bride his father has arranged for him to have: Large feet notwithstanding, he quickly learns to admire his hard-working and frugal wife. With their hard work and savings, Wang climbs up the economic ladder by being able to buy additional land to farm on.
It's ALL about the land, in Wang's opinion. Land cannot be taken away.
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Sure enough, what I heard about birthing and returning to work in the fields the same day was true. O-Lan, Wang's wife, is this incredibly docile, unassuming woman. She's the kind of woman that made me feel like a slacker for sitting around reading a book. Or taking a few weeks off of going to church after having a baby.
Hard Times (Enriched Classics)
I longed for more O-Lan, but that wasn't what this book was about. There were moments when I saw her pain, when I understood that in this culture, no one really loved O-Lan, despite her humility and service. Not her parents, who probably considered having a girl a burden and sold her as a slave when she was very young, not her owners, not her husband, and eventually, not even her own children.
Wang appreciated her but all his appreciation did was allow him to feel ashamed when he brought a concubine to the home. The beauty of the book, to me, was the irony that Buck skillfully weaves throughout the story. It's the whole Nephite Pride Cycle! In fact, Buck's style of writing felt a bit like reading the scriptures.
It was written dispassionately, even when writing about the character's passion. I also appreciated the Epic nature of the story. There is something to be learned from the successes and the tragedies. As much as I liked it, and I liked it very much, I wasn't completely smitten. I read some of the original reviews which led to the Pulitzer Award, and most of them focus on the groundbreaking honest look into China. Apparently, up until that time, China, or the Orient, was poorly understood and most of the stories about it were romanticized and mystifying.
Buck wrote about the China she saw, the day to day work and customs, the glory of sons to their families and the disregard to their daughters. A disappointing book that felt artificially constructed and contrived, lacking the true heart of Charles Dickens that I know and love. Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. I was a little hesitant to read this novel because I had heard it was boring and flat, but I chose to do so because I had read four of Dickens books already, and enjoyed them very much especially "David Copperfield" , and because it looked like a fairly quick read.
Quick for Charles Dickens, that is! It was not disappointing! I enjoyed every page of this great classic! The plot is intriguing, and how all the characters turned out at the end of the book. It is made up of three sections, "Sowing", "Reaping" and "Garnering". It shows the disadvantages of living life by fact, and fact alone. It doesn't have that light-hearted of an ending, but it is resolute.
Like most Dickens books, the characters are all distinct and very non-forgettable. So, if you're looking for a classic, check out this book! In able to understand the content I needed to slow down and read the passages aloud. Very clever and somewhat playful Mr. As with his other novels he wrote about the down trodden, misunderstood and serious difficulties of the lower members of society. The story takes place in Coletown, a dreary place to be sure with all the smoke from factories polluting the environment.
There is not one or singular protagonist in the story, many have a story to tell. A child abandoned by her father who is a circus performer and has lost his touch and wants a better life for her.
An educator who believes all children should learn only facts and nothing but facts so even his own children don't know how to deal with society or relationships in general. A bank and mill owner who lives a lie. A poor mill worker, stuck with an alcoholic wife. Dickens even has added one of those ladies who is in everyone's business and a libertine. Very entertaining even though melancholy at times I highly recommend.
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