The Good Wife? : Pearl S. Bucks Feminist Critique

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Li, Lusha
Du, Jiaying
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Middle Tennessee State University
Set in early twentieth century China, the novel The Good Earth won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932. Its author, Pearl S. Buck, became the first American woman writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938. Our project explores women and marriage during the early twentieth century in China by analyzing specific scenes, quotes, and characters in The Good Earth. Although our primary method is literary analysis, our larger purpose is to address the novels (and novelists) feminism by discussing O-Lan, the female protagonist and good wife, within the context of Chinas ever-changing birth control policy. In this way, we will draw attention to gender issues in China. Buck understood these issues quite well, having lived the majority of her life in China. Our main sources will be Bucks biography and novel, selected scholars comments on her work, and reports of Chinas birth control policy as well as. We will highlight the parallels between life and art in a timeline that features relevant events in the history of early 20th century China and in the biography of Pearl S. Buck. The audience for our project includes anyone interested in womens history, China, American literature, or Pearl S. Buck.
China, Feminism, Pearl S. Buck, Gender, Marriage