The Good Earth: Chapters 1-4

Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 12737

Different countries have different cultures and rituals and values. A good author can immerse the reader into a stranger's life. Find out why novelist Pearl S. Buck won two prestigious writing awards!


Literary Studies

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

  • Do you know who this author is?

Pearl S. Buck

Image by Arnold Genthe, via Wikimedia Commons, is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under ID cph.3a12720 and is in the public domain.

Pearl S. Buck was a twentieth-century American author who spent almost the first half of her life living in China.

Although she was a prolific writer of both fiction and nonfiction, she is best known for her novel, The Good Earth, which is set among the peasantry in nineteenth-century China. Her depictions of Chinese lower classes later earned her both a Pulitzer and a Nobel Prize in literature. She was the first American to win both awards for literature.

To learn more about Buck's life, read the following biography. Take notes as you read to help you answer the short comprehension quiz after completing the article. You should keep your notes in a notebook or journal that will contain all of your work for this novel. Read Brief Biography of Pearl S. Buck, from The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania.

When you've finished reading, take the short quiz below and review what you know about Buck's life:

  • How did you perform on the quiz?
  • What about Pearl S. Buck's biography surprised you?

Many of Buck's writings focused on Chinese culture and society. For this series, you are going to read her most famous literary work, The Good Earth. Published in 1931, the novel follows the life of Wang Lung and his family. To complete this series, you will need to obtain a print copy of the novel. You can find a copy at your local library or in a bookstore. You will also need to keep a notebook or journal for your notes as you read the novel. Once you have these two items, you can read Chapters One through Four for this lesson. As you read, take notes on Wang Lung. Describe his occupation, his lifestyle, and his marriage.

When you have finished reading and taking your notes, move on to the Got It? section to check your comprehension and explore the plot and characters from the beginning of the novel.

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