Friday, March 30, 2012

The Good Earth (Pulitzer Winning Novel)

Out of the land we came and into it we must go — and if you will hold your land you can live… 
The Good Earth by Pearl Buck won the 1932 Pulitzer Prize for the Novel and was made into a movie in 1937. It was even an Oprah Book Club selection. There is no doubt that this is a time-tested classic. It is well-written. It fascinates the reader with its glimpse of China at the beginning of the last century. At times, it speaks to the heart. At times, it repulses, especially when it shows the treatment of women in China.

Briefly, the novel follows the life of Wang Lung and his family from his wedding day to shortly before his death. His relationship with the earth threads its way through the plot. Some years the earth yields a bountiful crop. Other years there are deadly famines. But, until the very end, Wang Lung finds the earth a source of goodness.

The night after I finished reading The Good Earth, I actually dreamt about it, the story had that much power over me. Despite being set in China, the story transcends cultures. I am well acquainted with the love of American farmers for the land. As with a number of the early Pulitzer Prize winning novels, The Good Earth also describes what happens to the children of a self-made man. The novel is the first in a trilogy, which I hope to finish at a later time.

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