Grade 10

The Good Earth

Response questions:

Chapter 1
·What did Wang Lung do to prepare for his wedding?
·Why was he so ashamed?
·Why did Wang Lung’s father insist the bride not be pretty?
·How did the ancient mistress treat O-Lan?
·What Chinese traditions did you notice?

Chapter 2
·What were some benefits of marriage for Wang Lung?

Chapter 3
·What was the occasion of the following quotations said by O-Lan:
o“None in that house!”
o“When I return to that house, it will be with my son in my arms. I shall have a red coat on him …”
o“I shall make the cloth dealer give me the last inch to the foot”
·What was the occasion of the following quotations said by Wang-Lung:
o“He said to himself that she was a woman such as is not commonly found!”
·What did most of the village men do when they went to town? What did Wang Lung do?
·What customs did Wang Lung perform after his first son was born?

Chapter 4
  • Research the meaning of the color red to the Chinese.

Chapter 5
  • What is the mood of this chapter?
  • What has changed since they were last in the great house?
  • What quotations from this chapter illustrate Wang Lung's feelings toward the land?
  • "What a pity our child is a female whom no one could want and covered wtih smallpox as well! Let us pray it may die." Why did Wang Lung say this?

Chapter 6
  • What was Wang Lung's attitude toward O-Lan becoming pregnant with their second son?
  • How soon did O-Lan return to work after giving birth?
  • "... the house was full of good fortune - this woman brought him nothing but good fortune." What good fortune were Wang Lung and O-Lan experiencing?

Chapter 7
  • What are some examples from this chapter of the oppression of women in pre-revolutionary China?
  • How is Wang Lung's uncle characterized in this chapter, in terms of his outer, inner and social character?
  • Does anyone have a "evil destiny"? Does the uncle have an "evil destiny," or has he created h is destiny through his own actions? How?
  • How is Wang Lung pressured to lend his uncle money?
  • What is the consequence of Wang Lung lending his uncle money?
  • What is the meaning of Wang Lung's statement to his uncle, "I ask your pardon, my uncle, for not stopping my work ..." (and the rest of that paragraph)?
  • What do you think of Wang Lung finally expressing his anger to his uncle?

Chapter 8
  • What are some examples of personification in the descriptions in this chapter?
  • Why has the House of Hwang fallen into near poverty?
  • What does O-Lan convince the neighbors of in her "speech" to them?
  • How does O-Lan "save the day" in this chapter?

Chapter 9
  • How does Wang Lung behave toward the gods in this chapter?
  • What does the family eat during the famine?
  • Why does Wang Lung give any bits of food he has to his father? What do you think of this?
  • What happened to Wang Lung's fourth child?
  • How does O-Lan "save the day" in this chapter?

Chapter 11
·Why do the rich give rice to the poor in the south (at least two reasons)?
·What does O-Lan do when the boys laugh while begging?
·How did O-Lan learn to beg?
·Why is pulling a ricksha difficult for Wang Lung (several reasons)?
·What was the uncle’s attitude toward begging?

Chapter 12
·What were some differences between the north and the south where Wang Lung and his family were now?
·What made Wang Lung feel less foreign in the southern city?
·How did Wang Lung describe the foreigner he carried in his rickshaw?
·What was the most striking imagery in this chapter, and what are a few details that make that imagery vivid?
·How do Wang Lung and O-Lan’s attitude toward thieving differ, and why do you think this is?

Chapter 13
·Which passage about the poor did you find to be the most powerful?
·How do Wang-Lung and O-Lan feel about selling their girl child?
·What happens, according to Wang-Lung’s neighbor, when the poor are too poor?
·What happens when the rich are too rich?
·What is foreshadowed by what the neighbor says?

Chapter 14
·How do Wang Lung’s dreams of what he would do with money differ from the talk he hears from the poor?
·How does Wang Lung respond when a religious tract is given to him by a foreigner?
·What is the meaning of the second tract Wang Lung receives?
·How does Wang Lung’s explanation for his poverty differ from that of the young teacher?
·What happens to those who are drafted into the army?
·How does Wang Lung avoid being seized by the army
·How does O-Lan describe the life of a slave?
·What is the “gate of peace”?

Chapter 15
·What does Wang Lung do with his gold?
·What has happened to Ching while Wang Lung was gone?
·What is Wang Lung’s attitude toward the gods?
·What do you notice or like most about the “land” theme in this chapter?
·What are Wang Lung’s strongest passions for in this chapter?

Chapter 16

·What condition is the House of Hwang now in? (old lord wears dirty clothes; no one there, no gateman, no agent; yard is cluttered with junk and unswept; old mistress dead; bandits robbed the house of goods and slaves)
·How is Cuckoo characterized? (outer – smooth hair, red lips; she is very shrewd and quick; she has control over the old master; she was in his chamber for years while others came and went; she is bold and aggressive; she pretends to be the “faithful servant” but is out for herself)

Chapter 17
·What major changes occur in Wang Lung’s life?
·How often do famines come, and what causes them?
·How is Ching further characterized in this chapter, in terms of his inner, outer and social character?
·How is Wang Lung’s oldest daughter characterized?
·How are Wang Lung’s two oldest sons characterized?
·What caused the oldest daughter to be as she is?
·What makes conducting business difficult for Wang Lung?
·What makes people think the schoolteacher is worthy?
·How does Wang Lung feel about his sons attending school?
·What are some interesting quotations from this chapter?
·What is the meaning of the names given to the two older sons?

Chapter 18
·What happens to Wang Lung, now that he has free time?
·Why does Wang Lung suddenly reproach his wife?
·What does he criticize about her?
·How does he feel about himself for criticizing her?
·Are his criticisms reasonable?
·How does she respond to his criticisms?
·How does Wang Lung’s attitude toward money change?
·How have people’s attitudes toward Wang Lung changed?
·What imagery do you find memorable?
·How is Cuckoo characterized?

Chapter 19
·What analogy does the author use to compare to Wang Lung’s lack of satisfaction after being with Lotus?
·What changes does Wang Lung make to try to impress Lotus (four)?
·Why is O-Lan sad (at least two reasons)?
·What is the mood of this chapter? How does it make you feel?

Chapter 20
·How do Wang Lung’s uncle and his family behave when they come to his house?
·Why is Wang Lung angry?
·How does O-Lan find out about Wang Lung and Lotus? How does she react?
·What does Wang Lung pay for Lotus?
·How does Wang Lung keep everyone from seeing Lotus?
·Describe Lotus’ arrival
·According to the uncle’s wife, why is Lotus willing to be purchased by Wang Lung?

Chapter 21
·Why was there trouble between O-Lan and Cuckoo?
·What became “thorns in Wang Lung’s side”:
·How does Wang Lung’s uncle disturb the peace?
·What marred Wang Lung’s love for Lotus?
·What finally made Lotus treat Wang Lung better?

Chapter 22
·What healed Wang Lung’s sickness of love?
·Why does Wang Lung’s status rise in the eyes of the villagers? How do they treat him differently?
·What explanation did O-Lan give for the eldest son’s behavior?
·Why had Wang Lung not had this same melancholy?

Chapter 23
·Why did Lotus recommend that the eldest son marry the daughter of the grain merchant Liu?
·Why did Wang Lung go to see Yang?
·Why did Wang Lung want his uncle and family out of his house?
·Why did Wang Lung allow his uncle and family to stay
·How did the uncle’s revelation cause Wang Lung to rethink his past and his family’s safety?
·How do Wang Lung and his workers fight the locusts?
·What benefit do the locusts bring?

Good Earth Resources
  • Ophrah's Book Club resources Oprah

Oedipus the King

Red Scarf Girl

All Quiet on the Western Front

Because of Romek

The Six Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make

Literature Units for the Year

Book, Author
Approximate Dates
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
RL: 6.8
County Library - MP3 or WMA download (10.5 hrs),
41 copies, 7 on CD
August, September, October
Oedipus the King by Sophocles
RL: 5.6
September or later
Red Scarf Girl by Ji-li Jiang
JCS book
October, November
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
County library - 55 copies, 2 on CD
December, January, February
Because of Romek by David Faber
JCS book
February, March
The Six Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make by Sean Covey
JCS book
April, May




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