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The Good Earth (Enriched Classics)
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Product Description



A poignant tale about the life and labors of a Chinese farmer during the sweeping reign of the country1s last emperor.


• A concise introduction that gives readers important background information

• A chronology of the author's life and work

• A timeline of significant events that provides the book's historical context

• An outline of key themes and plot points to help readers form their own interpretations

• Detailed explanatory notes

• Critical analysis, including contemporary and modern perspectives on the work

• Discussion questions to promote lively classroom and book group interaction

• A list of recommended related books and films to broaden the reader's experience

Enriched Classics offer readers affordable editions of great works of literature enhanced by helpful notes and insightful commentary. The scholarship provided in Enriched Classics enables readers to appreciate, understand, and enjoy the world's finest books to their full potential.


Customer Reviews:

  • synopsis
    The story takes place in 18oo's china and retells the history of a farmer and his family fro being dirt poor to the achievement of wealth. It is fast paced and a good read....more info
  • The Good Earth
    A must read. Richly written. Insight into rural China and the climb to success....more info
  • a look at the rich and the poor..
    The story starts off with Wang Lung as a humble, honest, and in this case, a humiliated farmer when he goes into a the House of Hwang to look for a wife. His wife, O Lan is not only faithful, hardworking although her life is plagued with misfortunes due to her plain looks. Through poverty, begging, droughts...through thick and thin...O Lan remains by her husband and has never complained, compliant with all his demands. However, when their fortunes turn out for the better and Wang Lung becomes a rich man, he changes and loses the love of his life- THE LAND for all he ever wanted was to work on this land of his...feel the soil beneath his feet, feel the callous on his hands, bask in the sunshine as his father and his grandfather had...however, all is lost with his increasing pride as a rich man. Is this new wealth that Wang Lung has obtained a curse or a blessing?

    What strikes this book as compelling to me is the selfless character of O Lan who gives all and yet in the end what was it worth? cannot help but to sympathize with this woman who has endured so much hardships even smothering her daughter so that the family can survive, but due to her plain looks has not received much in return. Some of her words (when she does speak) are the most heartbreaking speeches in the book for it gives us an insight into her pain, struggles, and her thoughts. One of the most memorable quotes was when Wang Lung daughter says, "and my mother said I was not to weep aloud because you are too kind and weak for pain and you might say to leave me as I am, and then my husband would not love me even as you do not love her."...more info
  • A true gem
    I recently picked this book up The Island Shop at Nassau in the Bahamas. What a wonderful book. I have not enjoyed reading a book this much in some time. This simple but poignant story follows a man, Wang Lung, through his life from his perspective. It is a tale of a man and his relationship with the land. It paints a picture of the different life stages one passes through. It is about an intergenerational family and its complex dynamics. It is a "rags to riches" story that reinforces the benefits of hard work and sacrifice. It is about surviving hardship. It speaks to man's sexual cravings. It causes one to think about the most important qualities of a good spouse. And, it is a view into a specific culture (Chinese) and time (early 1900s). Finally, the book is a very easy read for people of almost any age. I highly recommend this book....more info
  • A Good Book
    This book is nicely written and easy to read. The plot is quite interesting and the characters are original....more info
  • O-Lan and Wang Lung are all of us
    This magnificent novel, set among the poorest of the Chinese pesants, engulfs the reader with its warmth and its characters. Ms. Buck's knowledge of the Chinese life is fully demnostrated, and the language, with its quaint turns, adds such life to the story.

    Ms. Buck told The Good Earth in an almost plainsong style, letting the power of the events and people unfold naturally.

    This book has won about a zillion awards, and deserves them all. Reading it is a unique experience; do not deny yourself the pleasure. You will love it....more info
  • Pearl S. Buck dishes on mindlessness
    My attitude about these characters is I don't know and I don't want to know but Pearl S. Buck don't care and just goes on and on about a very messed up family. I will never forget that the husband took his coarse first wife's two pearls to buy more trinkets for his concubine whom he picked up in some brothel. Awch! ...more info
  • Beautiful
    A Nobel prize winning book that again takes us into an excellent description of Old china but the books insight into the human heart over-rides the prefectly crafted insight into China.
    Pearl S Burke, again writes a novel that makes you wonder how a foreigner could enter into China in a way never publicized by its citizen. Though when interviewed she mentioned she listened alot to the elderly Asian ladies who helped raise her .
    The book is about the value of God's gift to man, Land. An audacious book that makes you wonder about everything you think matters.
    Perfect Book
    ...more info
  • the good earth
    I actually bought this as a gift, but it was the favorite book of a very dear friend. I enjoyed it as well. The subject is timeless, struggle against adversity and coping with troubles, be they personal, ecconomic or of the family nature. The story could be a blueprint of how to succeed in business and what not to do in your personal life. It is very entertaining. Pearl Buck didn't write many bad books. Her descriptions are always vivid....more info
  • Amazon and its sellers are great.
    I have been a while buying things from you, guys, and you are really serious doing business, I haven't regreted not even one item. I am really pleased....more info
  • Extraordinary in its simplicity and complexity.
    Wonderful, beautiful, warm, cold, elegant, lush, and spare. On my top ten list of all time. If you have not read this, do so. It will stir your heart, stimulate your mind, and cause you to question what is important in your own life and in the world of human beings. Perfect!...more info
  • The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
    I've been reading Pearl S. Buck since I was in high school. This was required reading and I've read all I can find by her. I do believe she won a Pulitzer Prize for this novel. For those of you who don't know, The Good Earth was made into a movie. It is wonderful and stays true to the story. If you liked the book, you'll like the movie. Keep reading her novels she was a wonderful writer....more info
  • Good earth... good book!
    This book got a Pulitzer for a very good reason. The storytelling uses the right words - not too many, not too few, not too fancy, not too blunt. The tale of a family that works its way from poverty to prosperity - and the harsh lessons and realities along the way make for a powerful and compelling reason. I had already read a few of Ms. Buck's other works before this one, so had already been anticipating that I would enjoy it. But I enjoyed this book far more than I thought I would, and that's saying something! I'd have to say that this is one of the best of her works....more info
  • An excellent work ruined by 'enrichments'
    I have read this book many times and consider it one of the greatest books ever written. I wanted a new copy, since mine was worn-out, so I got this one, and was disappointed. The typeface was blurry and smudgy, and the paper quality poor. Worst though was finding errors by the person who provided the "enriching" narrative - she incorrectly refers to a primary character, Lotus, as 'Lotus Flower'. Nowhere is Lotus ever called this in this book! In another section, she incorrectly refers to her again, this time as 'Lotus Blossom'. Poor editing all around on the so-called enrichments, which ruins this book. Leave well enough alone, I say!...more info
  • An amazing spiritual journey
    This book is a very enjoyable look at one man's spiritual journey. The story is well done in every facet--engaging plot, deep characters and things move at a satisfactory pace. Buck was the daughter of missionaries to China, which adds credibility and insight to her writing. There are many valuable life lessons contained in this relatively short work. Recommended without reservations....more info
  • A good book.
    I had never heard of Pearl Buck or "The Good Earth" before I saw it in the "classics" section at a local bookstore. The literary canon that middle and high school teachers adhere to seems a little biased toward English authors of the nineteenth century, and this book and its author don't fit in that category. But I digress.

    Really, I liked this book. I thought it was good. It wasn't my favorite "classic," but it's well-written with some very universal themes and it has a good flow to it. "The Good Earth" tells the story of a Chinese farmer who, even as his personal circumstances and the country's political climate change, stays committed to his land.

    In terms of the actual printing, I thought it was great. SO many explanatory notes in the front and back, including further recommendations in terms of film and documentaries and critical articles. There was not only a timeline for Pearl Buck's life but one for China from, I think, 1880-1940 as well. Other enriched parts include a discussion of the book's themes and a synopsis of Buck's life....more info
  • I know why this is a classic
    What a great book. Buck is an incredible storyteller. Even though the plot is not extraordinary, I couldn't put the book down. My mother has been telling me to read this book for a year. I am so glad that I did and now have 2 other books by Buck on my shelf ready to read....more info
  • Thought provoking...
    Just like Lisa See's book, once again we can see how women are seen as so unimportant, even though the book proves over and over that this is not true. The farmer would have never gained all the riches that he did without his wife O-Lan. Yet, he could never see it. And thank goodness her feet were not bound!!! I loved the rich culture that you can take away from this book, even though the treatment of women still really bothers me. It was amazing to me that you cannot refuse a family member from leaching off of you even if you know they are terrible, dangerous people. Amazing! They have so much more patience than I ever could. I also learned that I really am a whimpy pregnant lady. I am a whimp...O-lan is a warrior!...more info
  • Old Man And Earth

    It is an epic drama of Wang Lung spanning four generations during early twentieth century China. Of course it is all about land, its bounty, its sustenance and above all its purity which no one can ever destroy.

    The book opens with Wang Lung visiting the rich family to take his bride home, who was raised as a slave. He was but a poor farmer and had to endure humiliations all his life but never complained. He took good care of his aged father, tilled his land, and married O Lan, epitome of self sacrifice, humility and devotion, one of the most memorable wives in all literature.

    She gives him three sons and two daughters and then the life's drama unfolds. He looses everything due to bad weather, escapes with his family, finds fortune, returns to his beloved land and prospers beyond his wildest dreams, a touch of Count of Monte Cristo. He buys more land, his sons become scholars, his daughter marries rich, takes up a concubine, and has scores of slaves. He even moves in the very house where he had gone begging for his wife decades earlier.

    But the country was going through a revolution and poor Wang Lung could not grasp its effects and its tumultuous upheaval finds him as a twig bending to fierce forces beyond his control. His sons break his heart when they talked of selling the land. He is shocked, protests, but the sons look at each other, smile yet assuring the old man they would never part with his beloved good earth.

    Pearl Buck, who was born and raised in China, brings all characters to full bloom in her inimitable prose.

    It is an all time classic. Should be in hundred best books of 20th Century.
    ...more info
  • Simply epic in scope, and breadth.
    A trip back in time to China, centering around a peasant named Wang Lung who has the presence to appreciate The Good Earth. He experiences a tremendous rise in station, good fortune and bad, and has the opportunity to marry two very different women. O-Lan is the first, long-suffering wife, and hers is the Universal story of the hard working first wife. O-Lan embodies the classic tale of women in this society, but so does the second wife, with her bound feet and her cloistered life. They are both sad lives, but O-Lan's story is the most poignant.

    This is an epic tale, simply written, which is captivating in its twists and turns, ups and downs. It's a classic tale in many respects, but it's also unique in its style, depth, and scope. It's a grand mirror, in so many ways, of our life today, and of the universality of the themes and the suffering. The lives of those two women merit a thoughtful examination. Wang Lung is a simple man, but in so many ways he is larger than life, and his life bears examining thoughtfully, as well....more info
  • The Good Earth
    Pearl S Buck. A classic and always a pleasure to read. Easy to get lost in it....more info
  • The Earth is Good, Greed for the things of earth is bad
    The title sums up the message of the book as I see it. Wang Lung is a farmer in China in the first quarter of the 20th century. He marries a servant girl named O-Lan, who surprises him with how hard-working and skilled and resourceful she is with all kinds of work. Wang-Lung continuously marvels at the thought that "this is my woman!" A terrible drought leads the struggling young family to move south in order to beg for bread and rice while Wang-Lung pulls a rickshaw to make a few pence so that the family can buy food the next morning.

    But soon, Wang Lung is not satisfied, and he wants more. He wants more land, he wants more financial security. He wants his sons to be scholars like the boys in town, he wants the respect of the village, and he wants to be great like the House of Hwang. He starts going to the tea houses, and pretty soon, he wants a pretty concubine, which ends up costing him 100 pieces of silver and his household becomes filled with turmoil.

    Basically, Wang Lung becomes the person he used to despise, a materialistic person who is never satisfied with what he has and one who eyes his prospective foes with suspicion. Seems like the only happy person in the family is the retarded daughter. It's ironic that the family members call her a fool, when in reality, she is the only one who isn't a fool because she is content with what she has! This book is a great and stirring and soulful look at how easily people can lose sight of what is truly important to chase after an apparition, a fantasy, something that can never bring fulfillment.

    ...more info
  • My absolute favorite book
    This is my absolute favorite book in the world (well besides my own--LOL!) This was the first book I read that totally infuriated me. When Wang Lung took Lotus as his concubine I about had a fit! I was totally outraged and was only 13 years old! I didn't even know what a concubine was but I knew O-lan should have received more respect! This is when I discovered the power of words and how a brilliant author can influence the readers feelings about their characters and the character's actions. I digress though, this book is much more than just Wang Lung losing himself once he became successful. It's a powerful novel that will keep generation after generation's attention. I re-read this classic every year....more info
  • True Yet Dissapointing
    Reflecting the themes of the story itself, The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck is written in a plain, unadorned style that is able to accurately depict the struggles faced by the main protagonists. This novel is a detailed and stark recounting of one man's journey through life and society, and his attempts to rise above the poverty he was born in, only to find himself stuck in decadence and mired with a wealth of problems when the success he dreamed of is attained. While the points established by The Good Earth are certain to provoke intrigue and debate among readers, and the story itself is simultaneously sobering and informative, it fails to achieve any sort of truly deep writing and easily bores readers with its unbearably bleak language and lack of interesting plots or characters.

    The Good Earth relates the life story of Wang Lung, an impoverished peasant in China who prepares for his marriage at the beginning of the novel. History plays an important part in the story, as the time that the novel takes place in is the late 19th century, an era of discord and chaos for China. Wang Lung's life and the situations he are in are similarly fraught with difficulty. From the start, land is emphasized as the lifeblood of all mankind, and a possession that no one can or should ever relinquish, even under the most horrendous circumstances. Over the course of the entire book, Wang Lung steadfastly holds onto his land properties, even when he is forced to migrate to a coastal city to find work. Ironically, as Wang Lung expands his holdings, his wealth and ability to provide education and extra comforts for his children leave them detached from the land that has contributed to their wellbeing. Wang Lung himself is corrupted by the profits he has earned, and sinks into an ostentatious lifestyle. Through all this, practically all of the characters are able to earn the sympathy of readers through the plights they encounter, but none of them have ever been able to evoke any support or feelings of rapport from me. Many character are misogynistic, foolish, devoid of morals, or are simply boring and unable to connect with modern readers. The book details basically every event in Wang Lung's adult life, and the plots of each chapter eventually drive the reader to boredom with predictable responses from each character, and events that do not relate greatly to one another.

    What makes the story even more difficult and tedious to read in its entirety is Buck's use of language. Buck frequently utilizes forms of speech that have fallen out of date in modern times, and the parts of the novel that are clear to readers are characterized by dull language that becomes far too simplistic to be interesting to readers. It is not hard to discover the devices, however few there are, under Buck's writing. The stale language does, however, succeed in reflecting the earthy qualities of the story, and the centrality of land in the story.

    There are a few positive points of The Good Earth that make up for the book's flaws and are not worth discarding. One is the book's message of life being a cycle in which one can attain prosperity and lose it in the same lifetime, resulting in a neverending chain of ups and downs in life. This idea struck deep into me, as its power comes from the fact that it applies to all people of all walks of life. Another point of interest in this book was its unique and amazingly detailed description of life in 19th century China, which is difficult to find, especially by a non-Asian writer.

    However, these redeeming qualities found in The Good Earth cannot cover for all of the problems I discovered upon reading it, which include an uninspiring plot, lack of any particularly interesting characters, and stilted forms of speech used by both characters and the narrator. On the whole, this book failed to give me any sense of sympathy for the characters in their plights, and did not inspire me to read the sequels following it. I recommend this book strongly only for those who have the extensive time required for reading it, and those able to tolerate the dryness of its style and plot.
    ...more info
  • great book
    I chose thise book for a book club. It is the one month of the year that is also for the men in our lives. I think this is a wonderful book for men and women. I am anxious to hear the reactions. Personally I loved this book. It is a book that could be written today and just the names would be changed. It could take place anywhere. If you have never read it or have forgotten it from school, give it a chance. It does not disappoint....more info
  • Stands up to the tests of time
    This was one of my favorites in my teens -- I must have read it dozens of times. I recently re-read it and I still love the story, the evocative language, the vivid re-creation of a time and place. A great example of an epic novel. ...more info
  • A Chinese Take on the American Dream
    "I can only write about what I know, and I know nothing but China..." - Pearl Buck.

    Raised in the early 20th Century China, Buck offers an insight of rural China through a native's perspective in The Good Earth, a fictional account of a farmer's life spanning from the late 19th to early 20th Centuries. She places special emphasis upon the interactions between man v.s. man, man v.s. society, and most of all, man v.s. nature. Her novel's strong ties with the land (note: how the novel derives its title) are most notably represented by the multiple times the Wang family seek refuge from social turmoil at the time.

    Buck's presentation of China from within is perhaps one of the greatest strengths of the novel. Indeed, The Good Earth is a modest portrayal of agrarian life. As much and as accurate as the book's descriptions have been however, they are made universal through Buck's use of a 3rd person central point-of-view. Doing so she is able to freely comment upon the action of the novel, and presents hard facts without ever resorting to the use of stream of consciousness. There is therefore, a lack of subtlety in her style, but with one exception: never once has she stated the setting of the novel explicitly - the only time a trace of time appeared is when Wang Lung hurried his children to board the "fire wagon," or train, indicating that it is set at a time when railroads are novel to China. Unlike other literary works that are set in a foreign setting(such as Adeline Yen Mah's Falling Leaves), The Good Earth carries through without a single use of the Chinese language. Buck has domesticated the novel by replacing "mah jong," a popular Chinese gambling game, with the term "sparrow dominoes," thereby making her American readers more familiar to what would otherwise be perceived as a trace of foreignness.

    The process of how Wang Lung tries to acquire wealth is similar to the ideal of the "American Dream," only difference being on Chinese soil. Perhaps the following quote best sums up the book as a whole: "When the rich are too rich there are ways, and when the poor are too poor there are ways." Through Wang Lung's struggle and eventual rise to become wealthy, the quote becomes applicable to him as he does constantly search for alternative ways out regardless he is rich or poor. While I applaud her inventiveness for shedding new light upon a ever-popular concept, it nevertheless strikes me as redundant - after all, how many works of the same "rags to riches through hard work" have been published?

    Nonetheless, the novel is an enjoyable read and fairly easy to understand....more info
  • Great Read
    What a great book. Well written. I read this while I was pregnant and just
    got drawn into the Chinese culture and the story. One of my favorite books ever. ...more info
  • Well Done
    Just read the book for the first time in 2006 (48 years old) Very impressive, considering that it was written in the 1920's, for a Westerner to have the insight into the spiritual and materialistic world of Revolutionary China and the human individual. And Ms. Buck was at a relatively young age....more info
  • Classically Simple
    The Good Earth is an excellent book, deserving of the acclaim it has received through the years and surely deserving of the Pulitzer Prize it won in 1932. Simply yet poignant, the book plainly tells of one man's relation to the earth and how he fits in the culture of pre-revolution China. The book explores what he is, what he becomes, and how the earth brings him this turn of events. It gives the reader insight into humans that still apply to this day. This could have been written in 2002 with slight historical modifications and none would be the wiser as to when it was written.

    Those who find little value in the book probably find the lessons contained in its pages hard to grasp, or they find them pointless, which is all the more reason to see it as the jewel of literature it is. Simple and straightforward, the book lays out what man is and what man becomes when money is present in your life. We see these 2 extremes in the book.

    I find it hard to believe so many readers cannot find something of value in this book. It's not overly complex, so the simplicity might be a change of pace for some. But the same simplicity is what makes it excellent. It doesn't need to jump through hoops to make its point. It doesn't need to manufacture symbolism with every paragraph or deconstruct every sentence like many modern authors feel the need to do. It is what it is, and there's something to be said about that.

    All in all a wonderful book, a quick read, and well-deserving of the classic status it is generally labeled as....more info
  • creaky
    I wish my grandmother were still alive. It's for her generation - it's not for today. The Good Earth reads like like a parable - many, many paragraphs beginning with conjunctions. The author gives the reader no insight - it's all story. Recommended for lazy readers who don't want to challenge themselves. Little to think about...Terribly dated...politically incorrect...that the pages turn is the best I can say about The Good Earth. ...more info
  • Bravo O-lan !
    You are my hero. That's all I want to say.
    Figure it yourself and read the book...
    ...more info