Chapter 9 Notes from The Good Earth

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The Good Earth Chapter 9

Despite the starvation and the pain, Wang Lung tells himself that something should be done; there is a "is a determination to live" within Wang Lung. He resents the gods for the misfortune and drags himself to the temple of the earth. He spits at the earthen figurines in anger and bitterness.

Topic Tracking: God 4

Wang Lung and his family have eaten what they could. Now, none of them get up in the morning. In the village, there are no animals roaming around anywhere, and the bellies of the children swell out. Wang Lung's daughter lies quietly wrapped in a quilt, and he feels pity for his daughter who cannot even sit on her own. Wang Lung's old father is better than the rest because he is the first one to be given anything to eat.

One day, Ching comes to tell Wang Lung that people are eating dogs and even human flesh. Wang Lung's uncle and his wife are said to be eating human flesh. Fearful and panicky, Wang Lung suddenly cries out that they will leave and go south. O-lan tells him to wait until tomorrow when she will have given birth. He feels a sudden pity for his wife who is starving, yet carrying a life inside her. Wang Lung gets a handful of beans from Ching and gives them to O-lan who, without any food, will most likely die giving birth.

O-lan gives birth at night while Wang Lung waits in the middle room. It does not matter to him now whether or not the baby is male or female because it would just be one more mouth to feed. There is suddenly a baby's cry, but when there is no sound after that, Wang Lung becomes worried. When he goes into the room. O-lan tells him that the child is dead. Looking at the dead body, Wang Lung sees that it had been a girl. Taking the dead child out of the room, he wraps it in bits of broken mat. Examining the body, he sees two bruised spots on its neck. He takes the body as far as he can and puts it against an old grave. When a starving dog approaches, Wang Lung tries to scare it away, but has no more energy left in him to do anything.

Topic Tracking: Women 6

The next morning, Wang Lung cannot believe that he ever thought of leaving with his helpless children, his old father, and his weak wife. Sitting in the doorway, he sees his uncle approaching with three other men. His uncle is not as thin as he should be during these difficult times. The uncle has brought these men to help Wang Lung sell his land. Looking at the well-fed and well-dressed men from the town, Wang Lung says decidedly that he will not sell his land, but his resolution is soon shaken after seeing how thin his son has become. When he miserably asks one of the men how much he will pay for the land, the man states plainly and without remorse a price that is hardly anything for a piece of land. Wang Lung cannot endure any longer as a surge of anger rises within him. He yells that he will never sell his land: "I shall never sell the land! Bit by bit, I will dig up the fields and feed the earth itself to the children and when they die I will bury them in the land, and I and my wife and my old father, even he, we will die on the land that has given us birth." Chapter 9, pg. 61.

Topic Tracking: Earth 5

Wang Lung is weeping like a child when O-lan comes to the door to say matter of factly that they will not sell the land. She adds, however, that they will sell their furniture for which the men give two silver pieces. After they have left, Wang Lung decides to go south while there is any money left. Taking a look at his fields, he comforts himself by repeating that at least, he still has his land.

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