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The Good Earth Quotes

20 of the best book quotes from The Good Earth
  1. #1
    “It would have been beneath him to notice her. Instead he feigned great interest in the clouds and he cried, “That cloud which hangs upon the left horn of the new moon speaks of rain. It will come not later than tomorrow night.”
  2. #2
    “But Wang Lung thought of his land and pondered this way and that, with the sickened heart of deferred hope, how he could get back to it. He belonged, not to this scum which clung to the walls of a rich man’s house; nor did he belong to the rich man’s house. He belonged to the land and he could not live with any fullness until he felt the land under his feet and followed a plow in the springtime and bore a scythe in his hand at harvest.”
  3. #3
    “Well, but I cannot speak with a woman,” objected Wang Lung mildly. He could make nothing of the situation in which he found himself, and he was still staring about him. “Well, and why not?” retorted the woman with anger.”
  4. #4
    “Hunger makes thief of any man.”
  5. #5
    “Now, five years is nothing in a man’s life except when he is very young and very old...”
  6. #6
    “Now the anger that arose in Wang Lung’s heart was an anger he had not known in al his life before, although as things had prospered with him and as men came to call him rich, he...had grown full of small sudden angers, and he was proud even in the town. But this anger now was the anger of one man against another man who steals away the loved woman, and when Wang Lung remembered that the other man was his own son, he was filled with a vomiting sickness.”
  1. #7
    “All through the long months of winter she lay dying and upon her bed, and for the first time Wang Lung and his children knew what she had been in the house, and how she made comfort for them all and they had not known it.”
  2. #8
    “Now father and son could rest. There was a woman coming to the house. Never again would Wang Lung have to rise summer and winter at dawn to light the fire. He could lie in his bed and wait, and he also would have a bowl of water brought to him, and if the earth were fruitful there would be tea leaves in the water. ”
  3. #9
    “Oh, if I had an instant’s strength in this hand of mine I would set fire to the gates and to those houses and courts within, even though I burned in the fire. A thousand curses to the parents that bore the children of Hwang!”
  4. #10
    “Now, evil, idle sons—sell the land! . . . It is the end of a family—when they begin to sell the land . . . Out of the land we came and into it we must go—and if you will hold your land you can live—no one can rob you of land. . . . If you sell the land, it is the end.”
  5. #11
    “When the rich are too rich there are ways, and when the poor are too poor there are ways...and that way will come soon.”
  6. #12
    “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.”
  1. #13
    “If I have a handful of silver it is because I work and my wife works, and we do not, as some do, sit idling over a gambling table or gossiping on doorsteps never swept, letting the fields grow to weeds and our children go half-fed!”
  2. #14
    “The common people had to move, then, and they moved complaining and cursing because a rich man could do as he would and they packed their tattered possessions and went away swelling with anger and muttering that one day they would come back even as the poor do come back when the rich are too rich.”
  3. #15
    “There was never anything hanging from the rafters in his uncle’s crumbling old house. But in his own there was even a leg of pork which he had bought from his neighbor Ching when he killed his pig that looked as though it were sickening for a disease […] In the midst of all this plenty they sat in the house, therefore, when the winds of winter came out of the desert to the northeast of them, winds bitter and biting. ”
  4. #16
    “Then slowly she thrust her wet wrinkled hand into her bosom and she drew forth the small package and she gave it to him and watched him as he unwrapped it; and the pearls lay in his hand and they caught softly and fully the light of the sun, and he laughed. But O-lan returned to the beating of his clothes and when tears dropped slowly and heavily from her eyes she did not put up her hand to wipe them away; only she beat the more steadily with her wooden stick upon the clothes spread over the stone.”
  5. #17
    “Now that the joy and sorrow are over, I have that to tell you about the land.”
  6. #18
    “Here were these men from the town, having eaten and drunk, standing beside him whose children were starving and eating the very earth of the fields; here they were, come to squeeze his land from him in his extremity.”
  7. #19
    “There is that about you which makes me think of one of the lords in the great house.” Wang Lung laughed loudly then and he said, “And am I always to look like a hind when we have enough and to spare?” But in his heart he was greatly pleased and for that day he was more kindly with her than he had been for many days.”
  8. #20
    “Now how ignorant you are, you who still wear your hair in a long tail! No one can make it rain when it will not, but what has this to do with us? If the rich would share with us what they have, rain or not would matter none, because we would all have money and food.”
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