Chapter 19 Notes from The Good Earth

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The Good Earth Chapter 19

Nothing happens to prevent Wang Lung from returning to the great teahouse. Thus, one evening, putting on his best robe, Wang Lung goes to the teashop where he meets Cuckoo who is scornful of Wang Lung. Angry and injured, Wang Lung enters the teashop and mentions the small girl whose picture he was so enchanted with, and Cuckoo silently leads him to the room of the girl who is called Lotus. When Wang Lung enters the room with Cuckoo, Lotus is seated on a quilt. Wang Lung is fascinated with her, watching her as though she were a picture.

After his first meeting with Lotus, Wang Lung is sick in love. Everyday, he goes into the teashop, waits for Lotus, and goes into her room. Although he is able to see her everyday, he is never satisfied, always "fevered and thirsty, even if she gave him his will of her." Chapter 19, pg. 131. Wang Lung is restless all during the summer because of his love for her.

Soon, Wang Lung cannot face O-lan, the children, or the old father. He becomes fastidious with his hair, his clothes, and the way he smells. One day, O-lan comments that Wang Lung reminds her of the lords in the great house, and he is secretly pleased. There is a constant spending of silver. Not only does Wang Lung have to pay the fee for going into see Lotus, but he also has to satisfy the various desires the girl has for jewels and other trinkets.

O-lan does not know what Wang Lung does everyday, but watches him as he continually takes money out of the wall and other hiding places. One day, as O-lan is washing clothes, Wang Lung returns home to demand the pearls that she has been keeping. He cruelly tells her that he needs them, and that there is no need to keep what one will never use.

"Then slowly she [thrusts] her wet wrinkled hand into her bosom and she [draws] forth the small package and she [gives] it to him and [watches] him as he [unwraps] it; and the pearls [lie] in his hand and they [catch] softly and fully the light of the sun, and he [laughs]. But O-lan [returns] to the beating of his clothes and when tears [drop] slowly and heavily from her eyes she [does] not put up her hand to wipe them away; only she [beats] them more steadily with her wooden stick upon the clothes spread over the stone." Chapter 19, pg. 134-35.

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