Your Guide to The Good Earth: Discussion Questions
1. Talk about the transition the family makes from the country to the city. What do you find interesting about Wang Lung's impressions of city life? Why do you think it's so important to him to "get back to the land?" (p. 112)
2. What do you think of the dilemma O-lan initiates in suggesting they sell their daughter for a chance to go back to their home? Talk about Wang Lung's response to her and the Chinese traditions this illuminates.
3. Discuss the turmoil in the city, the "strange talk about" (p. 128) that implies that there is civil unrest. What do you think of the tumultuous life Wang Lung and his family lead?
4. O-lan steals the riches to put her family back onto their land and into a comfortable life. What do you think this says about her and her morals?
5. Talk about the family's change of fortunes. What does it force them to confront about their culture and themselves?
6. What do you find unique about Wang Lung's relationship with Ching?
7. What do you think of the passage on page 167, where Wang Lung finds his wife to be "a dull and common creature." Talk about his attitude towards her and her reaction.
8. What do you feel the waters, which recur several times through this section, represent?
9. Think about Wang Lung's fixation on Lotus. Why do you think his relationship with her is so important to him? How do you expect it will resolve?
10. The land always provides a solace for Wang Lung. Discuss at least three passages from the first half of the novel that talk about the land and what it means to the novel's main character.
Think you know Part Two? Take our quiz!