The Good Earth Essay

1133 WordsMar 8, 20125 Pages
The Roles of Women in the Good Earth ) The phase of childhood for a female in that era is strictly to learn the skills necessary to be wed. If she becomes pregnant before she is betrothed, her life is considered worthless. Wang-Lung is a poor farmer, and farmers depend on their land to grow food, when land fails, there is famine. And to survive in a famine, families with girls almost always sell them as they would a piece of cloth. Throughout the book, we see a plurality of incidences where this occurs. For example, when Wang-Lung is met with a dilemma of whether or not he should sell his daughter, a friend of his tells him, "Last winter we sold two girls and endured, and this winter, if this one my woman bears a girl, we will sell again.... it is better to sell than kill...there are those that prefer to kill them before they draw breath." (Chapter 13 pg. 119) This mere passage may disgust modern readers, but at the time, the practice of selling daughters is as widely accepted as it is performed. To hear Wang-Lung's friend speak of selling his daughters like selling pieces of furniture further proves that as children, girls have no place in society. Even the mothers, who supposedly unconditionally love their children, gives in and indulges in the trade of human flesh in order to survive. After the necessary stages of childhood and adolescence pass for a woman, all that she is good for is to be wed. Marriages of that time are always arranged with no choice given to the female, who does not even see her groom until wedding day. After being married off, the woman is treated little better than a tool. Indeed, the first thing that Wang-Lung says to his wife is, "Here is the box and basket." (Chapter 1 pg. 19) Although in his heart, Wang-Lung feels sympathy for this "creature" of a wife. He dares not show it because the unwritten laws of society decree that a man should

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