Category : Articles
5 October 2012
The Way of Life.
During the period of the Qing Dynasty most individuals in China practiced the religion
of Confucianism. Confucianism was more of a tradition and cultural custom than a religion, this
value system of ethics, education, and fellowship taught believers harmony,moral virtues, and
love for humanity. This religion impacted the lives many and socially and politically structured
China. Confucianism has five cardinal relationships, and those relationships are as
followed; ruler and subject, father and son, husband and wife, elder and younger brother, and
friend and friend. Filial piety which is a symbol of Confucianism involves being loving
being respectful, dutiful, loyal and obedient.
During the late Qing Dynasty the role of Confucianism was no longer a positive aspect in the lives of the dissent of the ancestors who worshipped the teachings of Confucianism. The Qing Dynasty was falling as an empire and the Revolution had changed the way people once lived. People were becoming accustom to modernization and lost custom of the old way of life. There was no longer a deference to others and that is the main structure of Confucianism.
The novel The Good Earth shares some example of how the Chinese culture changed during the late Qing Dynasty and how the role of Confucianism was negative. The story is about a young farm name Wang Lung who has love for the earth in which he harvest his crop and he still believes in the custom of being respectful and working hard to provide for his father and one day his own family. However times Wang endured hardship and then fortune and along with this new wealth Wang lost his way of life the love for the earth, his wife, and his sons knew no value because wealth influences them to stray away from there fathers belief. Wangs family deal with corruption, jealousy, and greed, it is up to Wang to try and find peace to bring his family back together.
Upon reaching manhood Wang takes on a wife, A slave from the House of Hwang, name O-lan. O-lan later bares Wangs children and after the birth of a third child a daughter Wang family experience a great famine. During a time of famine Wangs greedy uncle wants him to give him silver and feed him and his wife and seven children but Wang only has enough to take care of his own family. Because his good fortune has run out and he is no longer doing as well as he once did he only gave his uncle what he could spare. ???When his uncle came again Wang Lung cried out,
???Even filial piety will not feed my house!??? ???and he sent his uncle empty away???, ( Buck 77). Wang was implying that being dutiful, helpful, respectful loving and obedient to his elder, his uncle would not feed his family. It was said that if one was benevolent and obedient one would prosper in his land.
During the hardship and famine Wangs family had to sell everything and he moved to the
South in the South his family had to beg to get money for food and he had to work pulling a rickety. The South did bring Wang in his family a little comfort, the rich foreigners, the westerns gave generous amounts of gold and silver to Wang for working the rickety. But his son and family would things to survive that Wang was not fond of.
His son went from begging to stealing, this was not customer an man worked hard to prosper and Confucianism was not about taking or stealing. ???Beggers we are but thieves we are not??? ( Buck 119). Wang would not eat the meat his son had stole. Wang began to miss the land that he had onced harvested on and even thought he lived among others during the modernization and Revolution Wang still loved the earth that he farmed on. When wanted nothing more than to get back to the land he called home.
Once the war broke out and all the rich western moved from their homes Wang and wife O-lan along with other poor people ransacked the rich peoples home. Wang ran into a rich man and robber him for his gold. The rich man told Wang he had money and the first thing came Wangs mind was his land. ???It this word ???money??? which suddenly brought to Wang Lungs mind a piercing clarity. ???Money! Aye, and he needed that! And again it came to him clearly, as a voice speaking,
???Money- the child saved- the land! ( Buck 146). Wangs land was lile his child to him.
Wang was able to get back to his precious land with the money he had taken from the rich man.
Getting back to his land only brought about more problem, Wang hadout back his land plus more from the Master from the House of Hwang, a master who was once wealthy himself but had lost all of his wealth from foolish spending. Wang had indeed prospered from his land that he had harvest on, he has so much land that he now need help to plough and harvest on it.
So Wang asked his friend to come work and live on his land. Once a flood hits the land Wang becomes idle in his work, he doesnt really care about the flood because he has become so wealthy. Not having to work the land Wang becomes bored with his children and wife and began to mistreat O-lan talking down to her about her appearance. Telling her she should look better now that they are wealthy. ???I mean, cannot you buy a little oil for your hair as other women do and make yourself a new coat of black cloth??? (Buck 180). Even though he is cruel to O-lan she never takes up for herself she is like a victim, still a mere slave to Wang.
Wang begins to lose sight of what is important and becomes consumed with his wealth that he looks to find pleasure in a prostitue name Lotus. Wangs greed uncle comes to pinch off of him again once he hears of his wealth using filial piety so that Wang will feel bad and take him in. He knows that Wang will not go again his elder and turn him away. Wang wanted to have to have Lotus come live with his house and willnot stop at nothing to get her offering all his money even his land for this woman. ???Silver, then! Silver and gold! Anything to the very price of my land??? (Buck 207). Wang does not show his wife O-lan the love he once had for her but showers his new concubine with gives and evens take the pearls from O-lan that the agreed to let her keep gives them to Lotus.
Wang looses interest in farming and begins to spend money to make Lotus happy even changing his appearance for her. Becoming what he hates and making the same mistake the former Master of the House of Hwang did. O-lan who is ill dies and after a while his friend of may years dies also. Wang who has gotten tired of his Lotus begins to miss O-lan and regrets mistreating her. Wang decides to get back into harvesting his land again and wants his son to also learn about the land that he loves. His sons rebel against him and do not want to be farmers. His sons do not value the land that Wang values. Wang watches as his sons and their wifes fight constantly, and his youngest son rebels against him and joins the army. Wang ask his sons to keep the land that he had grown to love in the family. But his sons only concern with wealth tell their father they will not sell the land but they have already secretly agreed to do so anyway.
So in conclusion Wang started out as a simple farmer who loved the good earth that he