Wang's love problems seem to be resolved as his attentions turn to the land. He is rejuvenated by the rich smell of the earth, and he is quick to work with his own two hands upon the land. His joy is unsurpassed, and he spends the next day working and relaxing in the fields. That night, when he enters Lotus' chambers, she makes a face at his muddy appearance but Wang laughs robustly, proud to be a farmer. Wang eats heartily of the food cooked by O-lan, and he is very content with the two women he has to serve him: Lotus for his physical desires and O-lan for her work in the home and for bearing his children. Many are envious of his successes, none more so than his own uncle. This talk increased men's respect for Wang, so that many came to seek his advice or borrow his money at interest.
Wang is now entirely occupied with the land. The wheat sprouts and Wang takes his harvests to the markets, accompanied by his eldest son who notices an error in one of the deeds. The clerks who had previously ridiculed Wang for his illiteracy now praise the son for his intelligence, and Wang bursts with pride.
Wang realizes that his son is now a man, and he seeks a suitable wife for him. Discussing the situation with Ching, Wang understands that only an upper-class maid will suffice. Wang shares his thoughts with no other, consigning himself the important job of seeking this woman. Still, a great deal of time passes and there is no bride to be found.
When spring arrives, the eldest son's attitude changes so that he becomes uncooperative and rebellious, refusing at times to eat or attend school. Despite Wang's lashings, he is unsuccessful at changing his son who becomes more unruly. Finally, O-lan approaches Wang to tell him that the beatings will not change their son since she has seen the same changes appear in the young sons of the Old Lord at the House of Hwang. She says the only cure for their melancholy was to find slaves for them to appease their sexual hunger. Wang concurs and decides to wed their son early, to satiate this desire.
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Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Chapter 2 and 3
Chapter 4 and 5
Chapter 6 and 7
Chapter 10 and 11
Chapter 12 and 13