Pearl S. Buck Writing Styles in The Good Earth

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The novel is a realistic one but also on occasions employs imagery and symbolism. The traditional Chinese practice of foot-binding, for example, is used as a symbol of Wang Lung's desire to improve the social status of his family. The binding of girls' feet over a period of years resulted in a deformed foot that sometimes was no longer than three inches. Foot-binding was a painful process, but a small foot was considered desirable. Wang Lung finds Lotus alluring because she has tiny feet. Also, if a girl had bound feet it was easier for the family to find her a husband. The practice was not common amongst the poor, however, because poor women had to work; they could not afford to be merely decorative objects. Since O-lan is a kitchen slave, her feet were not bound. However, when Wang Lung acquires wealth and determines that...

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This section contains 357 words
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