The Good Earth
Pearl S. Buck
Contributed by Bobbie Heil
Chapter 13
Summary

As the days progress, Wang sees the dire poverty in which his family is stuck. Men who slave in the city bakeries do not even earn enough to purchase the rich loaves their hands make, and those who worked as tailors to clothe the rich are lucky if they have any clothing at all to cover their bodies. Wang looks around and sees his fellow laborers, with their faces revealing the stress and strain of their daily tasks. The young men, seeing their sad lot, grow discontent and rebellious.

Wang reminisces about the land with his father, who assures him that there is always the land to which to return. O-lan, who is pregnant again, suggests that they sell their daughter for money with which to make the return journey, but Wang refuses. Wang, having trouble sleeping, heads outside the hut and makes conversation with one of his equally unfortunate neighbors. The man relays how he had to sell two of his girls and how he has seen the rich and their ways, when even the slaves share in the wealth. Wang wonders, then, if it might be better for his daughter to be raised in that manner, instead of starving in a foreign city. He repeats to himself something the man has just said, "There is a way, when the rich are too rich."

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