The Good Earth: Chapters 21-25

Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 12741

The field of medicine has come a long way over thousands of years -- or has it? Some cultures look to the earth for their medicines instead of the pharmacist. Which do you prefer: pain pills or pins?


Literary Studies

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

Lesson Plan - Get It!


What do you think the jars pictured above contain?

  • Did you guess that the bowls and drawers in the picture contained traditional Chinese medicine?

If so, pat yourself on the back! The Chinese culture has a long tradition of practicing medicine that stretches thousands of years into the past. Many Chinese practices, such as acupuncture, herbal remedies, and tai chi, have also entered Western medical practices. Chinese medicine tends to rely on natural remedies for diseases using roots, herbs, plants, and animals. To learn more about the history of Chinese medical practices, read the following article. As you read, answer the following questions in the notebook or journal you have been keeping on the novel:

  • What was one of the earliest medical practices recorded in Chinese history nearly 7,000 years ago?
  • During what dynasty were medicinal alcohols and compounds already being used?
  • What were the four departments into which doctors were divided during the Western Zhou dynasty?
  • What was significant about The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine?
  • What did Zhang Zhongjing contribute to the development of medical theory in China?
  • What was Sun Simiao's contribution to medical theory in China?
  • When did the field of orthopedics witness its greatest developments in Chinese medicine?
  • Why did the popularity of Chinese medicine experience a decline starting in the nineteenth century?
  • What event nearly resulted in the disappearance of all practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine in the twentieth century?

Read Understanding the Past: An Historical Timeline of Chinese Medicine, by Professor Wang Jin-Huai, courtesy of Integrative Body Works.

  • Do you think you would want to be treated with traditional Chinese medicine now that you know more about its development? Why or why not?

When you've finished responding to the questions in your notebook, read Chapters Twenty-One through Twenty-Five in The Good Earth. You will need to obtain a print copy of the book, which you can find in a local bookstore or library. As you read, take notes on Wang's problems with his eldest son and wife. Also, take note of the doctor's treatments in this section.

When you've finished reading and taking notes, move on to the Got It? section to explore the details of these chapters more closely.

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