By looking at the name Pearl S. Buck, I imagined this story would be about some western people, because I couldn’t associate the author’s name with Eastern cultures; however, different from what I thought, this book The Good Earth depicted the life of a Chinese farmer named Wang Long. I realized that the author had spent most of her childhood in China with her parents who came to China as missionaries. The book The Good Earth written by Pearl S. Buck, a blue-eyed Chinese, impressed me with its story about a life of a man who was born, lived, and died on earth; it is not an exaggeration to say that the earth represented his whole life.
As all human beings belong somewhere, Wang Long belonged to his land. He was a diligent farmer who attained everything he needed through his hard work on his land. I felt interested in Wang Long’s life, because his life showed readers about how he truly lived life engaging in something that he belongs. Throughout his life, he went through both hard times and successful times. When he was poor, he and his family moved to the southern part of the country and maintained living by bagging and enduring work that required great amounts of labor. It was certainly a tough time for his family. However, after few years, he was able to cultivate abundant crops from his land and eventually he became the landowner of large portion of land. I though his story had some similarity with the earth because of two reasons: first, people cannot expect what will happen in their life nor in nature, and second, people’s life and nature both contain up-and-down trends throughout time. One’s life is full of unexpected events and because of this fact, people actually cannot know whether their next event would be pleasant or unpleasant. One attitude that I appreciated from Wang Long was that although there was time when he had to go through difficulties, he still loved his land. I really liked the fact that he embraced everything that the land gave to him – even the severe drought – because I felt like he was really becoming the part of story where he belongs. He devoted everything to the land and lived a life on the land.
Thinking about what “land” meant to him, I could understand why he was so obsessed with his land. Even at the time when he was old and wealthy and did not need to farm to sustain his life, he refused to sell out his land – he was furious when he heard that his sons were planning to sell the land. Land meant more than a piece of soil to him. To him, it was his everything that represented his identity. When I read this part, I was curious to what made him love land so much. If I were him, I think I might have felt sick of the land just like his third son did – his third son was tired of farming that he even felt hatred towards the land. I compared Wang Long’s life and my life: as a student, I study in school and as a farmer, he cultivated his farm. However, the emotion I am feeling towards school is not as strong as how Wang Long felt towards his land. I wondered what made this difference. Contemplating for a while, I came up with an answer that it is because Wang Long dedicated his everything to the land while I was putting effort to my academic as much as I could.
The book The Good Earth made me to think about one question: have I ever dedicated everything for something? Actually, to be honest, I never did something putting 100% of my effort. The term “as much as I can” means about 80%~90% of my effort. I never felt eager to devote everything I had for several different reasons that I will not mention in this writing. Well, by looking at Wang Long’s life, I felt like I found a reason why I get frustrated studying so easily; I have not put enough effort and passion to it. Engaging into something is like making an investment. More the effort, time, passion I put into something, the more engage I will be into something.
I learned numerous life-learning lessons from this book. However, if I should pick only two, I would say: embrace every circumstance that I face while living, and engage deeply into things that I am doing. For me, as a student, I face many different situations and get many different assignments to accomplish. As an 11th grader, I am facing a new challenge called SAT. I know that my grade will not come out just as I want, but I believe that life is not only made up with sad stories. I would need to embrace this challenge, because those challenges are given to me as a presents. Also, I will try to be more engaged in all situations that I face throughout my story and be responsible for it. I feel sincerely thankful for the author writing such an amazing piece of work for readers and telling a story of man who was deeply engaged with his own story of life.