Portrayal of Southern Street Beggars in 'The Good Earth'

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Nobel prize-winning author, Pearl S. Buck, reflects societal systems through the symbolism of characters and their values in the book, The Good Earth. As the story progresses, the context builds up mostly through dialogue and the thoughts of the protagonist, Wang-Lung and

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The season of spring is the time of the year that flowers bloom and trees grow. The southern beggars in the city begin to scavenge for food and have a conversation in the evening; Wang Lung joins them occasionally. However, attending to their discussion, Wang Lung discerns that he isn't one of the beggars since he is cautious with his wealth and he claims the land, to which he is anxious to return. Southern beggars were blinded by the propaganda of the rich lifestyle on having to buy pearls and jewels to appear as rich in opposition to the land which Wang Lung values.“And if I had the gold that he has and the solver in my hand that he wears every day in his girdle and if I had the pearls his concubines wear and the rubies his wife wears” (Page 122). This signifies the notion of being rich and wealthy has to come from the exterior, through appearance and accessories. Dreams that each person has is equal to value. Their values are that they all want to be better, which is increasing their social status; they relied on society’s judgment to feel satisfied.

Unlike the southern beggars, Wang Lung thought “If I had the gold and the silver and the jewels, I would buy land with it, good land, and I would bring forth harvests from the land.” (Page 122) which Southerners find Wang Lung to be “a pig-tailed country bumpkin” (Page 122). He is disparaged for not understanding the enormousness of 'city life,' yet all things considered, Wang Lung still has hope that one day he will return to his land. He doesn’t want to stay a beggar or a rich man. The plow and scythe symbolize hard work and effort, which are things both the rich and the beggars don’t desire as they do not work or make an effort to. Wang Lung knows that true wealth lies inland. He has discovered that the land secures him more than money does. Therefore, he feels different from the city individuals, as he probably is aware he gets an opportunity to really take in substantial income once more. Not only does he need to purchase more land partially to build his benefits but also to fulfill his desires and feeling of satisfaction.

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Portrayal of Southern Street Beggars in ‘The Good Earth’. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 23, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/portrayal-of-southern-street-beggars-in-the-good-earth/
“Portrayal of Southern Street Beggars in ‘The Good Earth’.” Edubirdie, 21 Apr. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/portrayal-of-southern-street-beggars-in-the-good-earth/
Portrayal of Southern Street Beggars in ‘The Good Earth’. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/portrayal-of-southern-street-beggars-in-the-good-earth/> [Accessed 23 Apr. 2024].
Portrayal of Southern Street Beggars in ‘The Good Earth’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Apr 21 [cited 2024 Apr 23]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/portrayal-of-southern-street-beggars-in-the-good-earth/

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