Tonight at Book Club we discussed The Good Earth by Pearl Buck. A beloved classic that won the Noble Peace Prize nearly 70 years ago, it was a book that I hadn’t read. Not only was it a fantastically written book, but I appreciated that my friend, Diane, chose it this month as it seems like a suitable book to think about as we approach Earth Day 2010.
The main characters, Wang Lung and O-lan, are connected to the land, both spiritually and ethically. The permanence of the land is often compared to the fortunes, both lucky and unlucky, that the people in this book experience. Pearl Buck had a magical writing skill that wove words together. She dramatically conveyed the power of the land through language and dialogue. Read the following passage and give Earth Day some more thought before it arrives next week:
“There was only this perfect sympathy of movement, of turning this earth of theirs over and over to the sun, this earth which formed their home and fed their bodies and made their gods . . . Some time, in some age, bodies of men and women had been buried there, houses had stood there, had fallen, and gone back into the earth. So would also their house, some time, return into the earth, their bodies also. Each had his turn at this earth. They worked on, moving together—together—producing the fruit of this earth.”