Plot Points in The Good Earth
"For the first time in his years with her Wang Lung began to think about O-lan. Even in the days of her new-coming he had not thought of her for herself and not further than because she was a woman and the first he had known…now it seemed to him that he had time to think of what he would and he thought of O-lan." — from The Good Earth
When we think of a traditional woman who has given herself over in complete subservience to her marriage, Wang Lung's wife O-lan certainly fits the bill. From the moment she enters into her union with Wang Lung, she accepts her role as assistant, nurse, housemaid, field hand and mother. Through Wang Lung's thoughts we are told time and again that O-lan is not delicate, she's not physically attractive and she has no wealth to offer Wang Lung. Wang Lung treats her accordingly. He takes for granted all of her hard work and persistence—never rewarding her for birthing three healthy sons, which are a prized commodity—and turns to a concubine to replace her in bed when she becomes ravaged by age and hard work.