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"The Good Earth", The Oppression Of Women

2547 words - 10 pages

"In fact, the birth of female child was considered to be both a time of sadness and a time of an evil omen."(Lotus 54) A woman is still considered to be a weaker gender in today's society and the inequality between male and female perpetuates. In fact, this situation is quite prevalent in Pearl S.Buck's The Good Earth, whereby women continue to be suppressed by the more superior and masculine group which are men. Restrained by the traditional Chinese society's belief, woman is expected to be an inferior group in every aspect of life. They are only capable of becoming a concubine, a wife, and a mother. In other words, their lives are dictated to men. Society expectation's on them is so low in the sense that they only can become subordinates to husbands, fathers and sons. Moreover, a birth of a girl is considered to be a great disaster in a family as they are believed to bring evil destiny. Because of this mindset, women are subjected to high-levels of infanticide or sold as slaves to wealthier families as female children only bring shame to a family. This shows the injustice of gender as females are continually oppressed and they have to face hardships constrained by ancient Chinese society's belief in their whole life from abuse in childhood to servitude in adulthood. The oppression of women in Pearl S.Buck's The Good Earth is evident through the way the Chinese society mistreats women and some of the olden practice such as concubinage, foot-binding practice, and slavery.The birth of a female baby is seen to be a misfortune to a family as it is an evil omen. The birth of a girl is believed to bring bad luck in a family, and thus is fated to face discrimination in the ancient Chinese society. When O-lan gives birth to the first girl, she hollowly says, "It is only a slave this time-not worth mentioning"(Buck 51). Daughters are valued less than sons. When the first girl is born, Wang Lung suspects the girl is the source of all evil in his home, "Wang Lung stood still. A sense of evil struck him. A girl! A girl was causing all this trouble in his uncle's house. Now a girl had been born into this house as well"(Buck 51). The birth of a female child will only bring burden to a family as they have to make sure the girl gets sufficient food to grow up. Thus, it is just a waste of family resources to raise a female child. Apart from that, when they are married off, the family needs to pay a dowry. O-Lan says, "Well, and who will pay for the dowry and for the wedding and for the middleman's fees?"(Buck 47). Obviously, she feels contempt towards the birth of female child since the child will be like a parasite to the family and she will not benefit the family in the future, "A female child was considered to be a liability to the family because she was thought to be only a temporary member of the family - someone who had to be supported until she could be married"(Lotus 54). The patrilineal system is practiced in the ancient Chinese society. Therefore, a...

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