“The Good Earth”: The Oppression of Women Essay

“In fact. the birth of female kid was considered to be both a clip of unhappiness and a clip of an evil portents. ” ( Lotus 54 ) A adult female is still considered to be a weaker gender in today’s society and the inequality between male and female perpetuates. In fact. this state of affairs is rather prevailing in Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth. whereby adult females continue to be suppressed by the more superior and masculine group which are work forces.

Restrained by the traditional Chinese society’s belief. adult female is expected to be an inferior group in every facet of life. They are merely capable of going a courtesan. a married woman. and a female parent. In other words. their lives are dictated to work forces.

Society expectation’s on them is so low in the sense that they merely can go subsidiaries to hubbies. male parents and boies. Furthermore. a birth of a miss is considered to be a great catastrophe in a household as they are believed to convey evil fate.

Because of this mentality. adult females are subjected to high-levels of infanticide or sold as slaves to wealthier households as female kids merely conveying shame to a household. This shows the unfairness of gender as females are continually oppressed and they have to confront adversities constrained by ancient Chinese society’s belief in their whole life from maltreatment in childhood to servitude in maturity. The subjugation of adult females in Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth is apparent through the manner the Chinese society mistreats adult females and some of the olden pattern such as concubinage.

Get quality help now
Dr. Karlyna PhD

Proficient in: Gender

4.7 (235)

“ Amazing writer! I am really satisfied with her work. An excellent price as well. ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

foot-binding pattern. and bondage.

The birth of a female babe is seen to be a bad luck to a household as it is an evil portent. The birth of a miss is believed to convey bad fortune in a household. and therefore is fated to confront favoritism in the ancient Chinese society. When O-lan gives birth to the first miss. she hollowly says. “It is merely a slave this time-not worth mentioning” ( Buck 51 ) . Daughters are valued less than boies. When the first miss is born. Wang Lung suspects the miss is the beginning of all immoralities in his place. “Wang Lung stood still. A sense of evil struck him. A miss! A miss was doing all this problem in his uncle’s house. Now a miss had been born into this house as well” ( Buck 51 ) . The birth of a female kid will merely convey load to a household as they have to do certain the girl gets sufficient nutrient to turn up. Therefore. it is merely a waste of household resources to raise a female kid. Apart from that. when they are married off. the household needs to pay a dowery. O-Lan says. “Well. and who will pay for the dowery and for the nuptials and for the middleman’s fees? ” ( Buck 47 ) .

Obviously. she feels contempt towards the birth of female kid since the kid will be like a parasite to the household and she will non profit the household in the hereafter. “A female kid was considered to be a liability to the household because she was thought to be merely a impermanent member of the household – person who had to be supported until she could be married” ( Lotus 54 ) . The patrilineal system is practiced in the ancient Chinese society. Therefore. a miss will non be the member of her ain household when she is married to other household as lineage is traced through the male side of the household. That is why the birth of a boy is considered a approval to a household.

When Wang Lung has the first babe who is a female. their household celebrates it with joy: “We shall hold to purchase a good basketful of eggs and dye them all ruddy for the small town. Thus will everyone cognize I have a boy! ” ( Buck 33 ) . On the other manus. girls are considered a catastrophe to a household. Consequently. O-lan putting to deaths her girl by surrounding her without inquiring Wang Lung when she realizes the girl can non be supported during the dearth. It is a societal norm for a Chinese household to kill female babies alternatively a male as they are a liability to a household. Daughters are sacrificed in many critical state of affairss which show great favoritism against female gender.

The pattern of taking a courtesan is a tradition during Chinese ancient times. This is because there is no love between bride and bridegroom during matrimony. The matrimony intent is merely to supply a male heir to go on the household line. They both see each other for the first clip on their nuptials twenty-four hours. This is shown when Wang Lung marries with O-lan without cognizing her visual aspect. He is satisfied with her expression because there are no pock-marks and lip split except for her unbound pess. If the hubby is non satisfied with his wife’s expression or visual aspect. he will most likely go chat uping exterior and happen a courtesan to fulfill his animal lecherousness. This is proven from the quotation mark: “because the Chinese adult male could non see his bride until the nuptials twenty-four hours. the ulterior ownership of a courtesan for her beauty alone was a common practice” ( Lotus 56 ) . Even a married woman can non keep back her hubby from such pattern. and to do it worse she can non disassociate him as it is an discourtesy.

A adult male can disassociate his married woman as he like because of his supreme authorization in a household. As for Wang Lung. he takes Lotus as his courtesan because love does non bloom between him and O-lan. O-lan can non queer Wang Lung from taking courtesan. She merely can stay soundless all the clip when Lotus moves into her house. “Then when they slept and Wang Lung still sat at the tabular array woolgathering she washed herself for kiping and at last she went into her accustomed room and kip entirely upon her bed” ( Buck 152 ) . This reveals that adult females have to accept their destiny of being betrayed by their hubby. Work force are allowed to make anything to a courtesan every bit long as he provides the courtesan with comfort and pleasant things. When he foremost sees Lotus. he is wholly attracted to her physical visual aspect particularly her edge pess which O-Lan does non hold. This is the ground: ”This was easy for Lotus Flower since Wang Lung has all devouring desire for Lotus Flower.

Her beauty. including her little pess. wholly captivated him. ” ( Lotus 57 ) If the love foundation between Wang Lung and O-lan is strong plenty. he will non be tempted that easy to exert his lecherousness with Lotus. There is some intelligence about adult females who can non bear her hubby for bewraying them and kill themselves. “Some adult females will even hang themselves upon a beam with a rope when a adult male takes a 2nd adult female into the house” ( Buck 153 ) . As such. Wang Lung feels guilty and ashamed for his matter with Lotus. The feeling of guilty does non impede him from demanding the pearls from O-lan to give to Lotus since she is excessively resistless for him to halt continue holding such matter. Wang Lung even releases choler on O-lan when his uncle’s married woman arranges all the affair sing Wang Lung and Lotus’ reunion. O-lan’s depression is showed by the quotation mark. “I have borne you sons – I have borne you boies -“ ( Buck 149 ) . He tries to convert himself that he has done nil incorrect as rich people taking courtesan is a pattern that clip. Therefore. this shows that adult female has no power at all and is subjected to any sort of agonies in every aspect of life.

Womans are besides mistreated through foot-binding pattern.

“Foot-binding was the act of wrapping three- to five-year old misss pess with binding as to flex the toes under. interrupt the castanetss and coerce the dorsum of the pes together. The tight adhering chiefly cut the circulation. and this retarded the growing of the pes. ” ( Chinese 51 ) The intent of pes binding is
to bring forth bantam pes which looks beautiful to a adult male. Womans have to travel through such anguish procedure in order to achieve fondness from their hubbies in the hereafter. O-lan tells her girl that her hubby will non love her if her pess are non bound. Wang Lung’s girl wept from the hurting of her bindings when her female parent tightened the patchs excessively tightly. Her girl tells O-lan that she can non kip at dark when her pess are bounded. The girl claims that her female parent tells her that her hubby might non love her merely as Wang Lung does non love O-Lan if she does non make so. The cogent evidence is: ”and my female parent said I was non to cry aloud because you are excessively kind…and so my hubby would non love me even as you do non love her. ” ( Buck 190 ) There is an old Chinese expression: “For every brace of little pess. there is a jar full of cryings. ” Foot-binding cripples adult females and makes them unable to travel decently.

Therefore. it is apprehensible that Lotus bloom hardly moves around Wang Lung’s house because of her bound pess: “Because adult female could walk merely a really short distance. she was confined chiefly to her household” ( Chinese 51 ) . Chinese work forces use their superior place to hale adult female to conform to the criterion of beauty which is ghastly. Thus. many adult females have to travel through a barbarous procedure in order to acquire men’s attending. “Bound pess were thought to be seductive. Men thought that if a miss bound her pess. her waist became more slender. and her chests and hips bigger and more shapely. ” ( Chinese 53 ) When Wang Lung becomes rich. he realizes how gross outing his wife’s large pess are. “It seemed to him that she was wholly horrid. but the most horrid of all were her large pess in their loose cotton fabric shoes” ( Buck 130 ) . The mark of foot-binding pattern becomes more outstanding to Wang Lung when he becomes rich. “I have labored and have grown rich and I would hold my married woman expression less like a hind. And those pess of yours – -” ( Buck 130 ) .

When he looks at Lotus at the first clip. he is attracted to her because of her edge pess. “If one had told him that there could be pess like these. small pess thrust into pink satin shoes no longer than a man’s in-between finger. and singing childishly over the bed’s border – if anyone had told him he would non hold believed it” ( Buck 137 ) . Wang Lung thinks that the deformed beauty in Lotus’ edge pess is perfect for sexual satisfaction. Therefore. she takes her as courtesan. The ownership of Lotus makes him well-respected by the villagers. In the olden yearss. the pattern of foot-binding is besides a contemplation of a family’s duty to a miss. If the miss has her pess edge. it shows that she is raised decently by her parents. Henceforth. adult females have no pick but to follow with this anguish. This is besides another manner of women’s favoritism during the Chinese olden times.

The unfairness against adult females is besides depicted through female bondage in ancient China. The merchandising of girls as slaves is ubiquitous during the clip of poorness. They are sold as retainers or cocottes in order to give the boy. who is a family’s plus. a better endurance in the clip of dearth. There is one period in the novel when Wang Lung is despairing to cultivate his land because he can non defy the atrocious status his household members are holding. in where they resort to stealing and imploring in order to last. O-Lan tells Wang Lung that that she will sell his girl so that he able to return to his ain land but Wang Lung strongly opposes her. O-Lan Tells him that she is sold so that his parents could return to their place. She stated that. “If it were merely I. she would be killed before she was sold the slave of slaves was I! But a dead miss brings nil. I would sell this miss for you – to take you back to the land” ( Buck 90-91 ) . Even a adult male from the following hut Tells Wang Lung that he is non the merely in that awful state of affairs: “When the rich are excessively rich. there is a manner. and if I am non mistaken that manner will come soon” ( Buck 92 ) .

This shows that a girl is regarded as worthless and therefore is ever used as a tradable object when a fiscal job arises. In add-on. a married woman is ever treated as a amah in the Chinese olden times. For illustration. O-lan Acts of the Apostless like a retainer to Wang Lung’s household instead a matrimonial spouse. O-lan does non merely take the duties of running family. but besides helps Wang Lung to work in the field. She did non even kick to Wang Lung about her difficult labor. Wang Lung is really satisfied with his married woman that clip. “But in the twenty-four hours her apparels. her field bluish cotton coat and pants. covered all that he knew. and she was like a faithful. speechless functioning amah. who is merely a helping amah and nil more” ( Buck 26 ) . A married woman is expected to give birth to kids. run the family. and serve all the household members. If they can non make any of these undertakings. they are considered to be useless and therefore will be divorced by their hubbies. This societal usage portrays debasement of women’s place in the Chinese ancient times.

To reason. Pearl S. Buck has good portrayed the subjugation of oriental adult female in his work The Good Earth. Womans are oppressed because Chinese society considers female babes as an evil portents in a household. the pattern of concubinage. and the pattern of foot-binding and bondage. In the present. people are contending for the equality between adult male and adult female. Women’s position has changed. They are non looked down in China today. They have the right to make anything every bit long as they abide the Torahs. In this modern epoch. adult females play a function in thriving the state. They are given opportunities to face challenges in life and take part in this competitory society: “The function and position of adult females in China today is characterized by increased chances along with intense competition and major challenges” ( Xie Heng ) .

I think the measure to emancipate adult females is appropriate as God creates human to be equal in all sense regardless the gender. God does non make debris. In other words. things that happened to O-lan should non happen once more in the hereafter as it is unfair. It is so a good mark that female is seen to stand every bit tall as their masculine opposite numbers in this modern age. However. favoritism of adult females still occurs in some topographic points. It is necessary to rectify these jobs so that the tragic events in Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth in which adult females are despised will non originate in the hereafter. “A miss should non anticipate particular privileges because of her sex but neither should she set to prejudice and favoritism. ” ( Betty Friedan. women’s rightist )

Plants Cited

Buck. Pearl S. The Good Earth. Great Britain: Methuen & A ; Co Ltd. 1976.

Huntley. Stephen Veo. “The Chinese Custom of Foot Binding. ” Cliffnotes 50-54. 23 Apr 2008Huntley. Stephen Veo. “Lotus Flower and Concubinage. ” Cliffnotes 50-54. 23 Apr 2008Inspiring Quotation marks by Women. 17 May 2008.

Xie Heng. “The Changing Role and Status of Women in China. ” The 1990 Institute 23 April 2008.

Cite this page

“The Good Earth”: The Oppression of Women Essay. (2017, Oct 09). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-the-good-earth-the-oppression-of-women-essay/

“The Good Earth”: The Oppression of Women Essay
Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7