Chapter 2 Notes from The Good Earth

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The Good Earth Chapter 2

The next morning, Wang Lung lies on his bed, watching O-lan get up and dress. He tells her to take the first bowl of hot water to his father. Wang Lung is pleased that another person makes the fire and boils the water in the morning; it is a "luxury of idleness." Although Wang Lung spends his days as usual, he cannot stop thinking about O-lan who now belongs to him, and wonders if she likes him. Although he thinks her plain, he likes it that her body has been untouched by the young lords of the great House of Hwang.

During the next several months, Wang Lung observes O-lan. He likes it that when he returns from the land, food is ready on the table, and he does not need to prepare it for himself and his old father. O-lan cleans the house, collects fuel by roaming around the countryside, picks animal droppings to manure the fields, mends clothes, and cleans the beddings. She is very resourceful and thrifty, but her face is always expressionless, except for an occasional look of fear.

One day in early summer, as Wang Lung is working out in the fields, O-lan comes to work beside him. "There [is] only this perfect sympathy of movement, of turning this earth of theirs over and over to the sun, this earth which formed their home and fed their bodies and made their gods...Some time, in some age, bodies of men and women [have] been buried there, houses [have] stood there, [have] fallen, and gone back into the earth." Chapter 2, pg. 22

Topic Tracking: Earth 1

At the end of the day, O-lan tells plainly and without expression that she is with child. Wang Lung is momentarily speechless, but is pleased. When they arrive home, Wang Lung tells his father the news, and the old man is also happy. Astounded, Wang Lung thinks to himself: "Out of this body of his, out of his own loins, life!" Chapter 2, pg. 23.

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