Book Notes Chapter 33 Notes from The Good Earth

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The Good Earth Chapter 33

Wang Lung cannot stop thinking about Pear Blossom and watches her wherever she goes. One summer night of that year, Wang Lung is sitting under a tree in his court, and "his blood [runs] full and hot like the blood of a young man." Chapter 33, pg. 247. Earlier that day, he had wanted to go to his land to feel the earth under his feet, but he does not do this because he is no longer a poor farmer. So Wang Lung roams around the courts, staying away from Lotus who will be able to tell when a man is restless. Wang Lung is ashamed and thinks to himself that it would be better to give the maid to his third son, but he does not like the thought.

One night, sitting under the tree near the gate of his court, he beckons Pear Blossom who is passing by. When she fearfully approaches him, he touches her coat, but stops himself. Suddenly, Pear Blossom seizes his feet, lying on the ground. She tells him: "I like old men-I like old men-they are so kind." Chapter 33, pg. 248. When he protests and tells her that she should be with a youthful man, Pear Blossom tells him that she prefers old men. Wang Lung holds the maid gently, happy just to feel her flesh against his, and Pear Blossom clings to him like a daughter to a father.

Wang Lung is unwilling to tell anyone of what has happened between himself and Pear Blossom, but Cuckoo detects it and threatens to tell Lotus. In exchange for money from Wang Lung, however, Cuckoo is able to relate the news to Lotus without angering her.

Then there are his three sons to whom he must relate what has happened, and he is suddenly ashamed. But Wang Lung repeats to himself that he is the master of his own house and that he can do whatever he wishes. One by one, the sons come. The second son comes first, and Wang Lung and he discuss his family affairs and matters pertaining to the land. The second son says nothing about Pear Blossom, and goes away after having seen her bringing out tea. On the same day, the eldest son comes. Wang Lung is initially afraid of his proud, handsome son, but soon sees that he is a timid man who is afraid of his own wife. When Wang Lung calls for Pear Blossom, the eldest son admiringly looks at his father, envying him. The youngest son comes in the evening. Wang Lung is sitting in his room, smoking, and Pear Blossom is on the other side of the table. Suddenly, the son appears before them both, not having been detected. The boy's eyes gleam fiercely. He tells his father that he will now go for a soldier, and his youngest son suddenly frightens Wang Lung. After throwing a frightful look at Pear Blossom, the third son rushes out of the room, never to be seen again. The next morning, Wang Lung's youngest son is nowhere to be found.

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