In the midst of summer busyness–caring for the kids, yardwork, household projects–I have been trying to get some reading done. Well, I had to return Belong To Me (mentioned in my last post) to the library. I had Mark check it out for me when it was due last week, and then today, it was due again, and I figured they wouldn’t let me check it out again. I am more than half-way through, and I want to finish it. I just haven’t had the time to get to it.
I did finish The Good Earth, and it was worth reading. If you don’t know, it is the story of a farmer in China before the revolution. The farmer, practically worships the land. With the help of his stalwart, former slave wife, O-lan, Wang Lung survives a brutal famine and goes back to his land to farm it and become rich. He amasses more and more land, and becomes a lord in their small town. He also takes a second wife, a real sign of wealth.
What is great about this book are the themes that run through it–the benefit of hard work as opposed to slothfulness, the benefit of long-term faithfulness as opposed to betrayal, true humility versus false humility, being grateful for the gifts you receive in this life, etc., etc. The story is set in a pagan culture where false gods are honored and the people are superstitious, so the benefits of the gospel are missing. But the good and beneficial elements of these qualities to families and communities are still evident.
After I finished the book, I checked out the 1937 film based on it from the library. The movie had a happier ending and Wang Lung’s character was more foolish than in the book, but it was still a good reflection of the novel.