The Good Earth: Wang Lung As A Rolemodel Essay, Research Paper
The Good Earth:
Wang Lung as a Role Model
This is my definition of a role model: someone who does something that is admirable. One would be considered ignorant to think that a role model is perfect. In Pearl S. Buck?s The Good Earth, Wang Lung is set up to be a role model for his children. Wang Lung develops from a peasant farmer to a dynastic patriarch. He does many things to be admired, but also things to be ashamed of. Using my definition, Wang Lung was indeed a good role model for his children.
Wang Lung knows the general value of things. At the beginning of the story he uses silver from a good season to buy land from House Hwang. ?To those at the great house it means nothing, this handful of land, but to me it means so much!? Wang Lung places value in the land, not the silver that he paid House Hwang for it. This is probably his most redeeming quality, and he keeps it throughout the book.
Wang Lung, like any person, also has some less attractive qualities. After he returns from working in the city during the famine, he begins to rebuild his fortune with the money that he stole from the rich man?s house. Years passed and Wang Lung?s family was now complete. His three sons and his daughter are developing into important characters. Now Wang Lung?s family is beginning to resemble the former wealthy house of Hwang.
Wang Lung begins to tire of the simple things and decides to live decadently. This begins the downward spiral of morals. His children grow up away from the land, and pampered. They only see Wang Lung?s negative aspects such as decadence and lust. When his children discover Lotus he reacts angrily toward them, as if trying to hide his shame at taking a concubine. Through it all, however, Wang Lung returns to the land and again adopts his moral strength.
I believe that Wang Lung?s return to grace is the best example of a positive role model. Through this he proved that it is always possible to reform yourself. There are a few lines at the very end of the story that convey how well the children followed their father?s example:
?Rest assured, our father, rest assured. The land is not to be sold.?
But over the old man?s head they looked at each other and smiled.