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Reading Comprehension 04 - The Good Earth

The Good Earth is based in China.

Reading Comprehension 04 - The Good Earth

This English Language quiz is called 'Reading Comprehension 4 - The Good Earth' and it has been written by teachers to help you if you are studying the subject at middle school. Playing educational quizzes is a fabulous way to learn if you are in the 6th, 7th or 8th grade - aged 11 to 14.

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By now you should have had the chance to do at least a couple of the Reading Comprehension quizzes. As you may recall, reading comprehension is the ability a person has to read familiar and unfamiliar texts and then regurgitate that information in a clear and precise manner.

This is done by being able to describe the story, the characters, the plot and even the message of the story in some degree of details. The more you read and then test yourself, the easier it will become in time to retain information that has been read.

This quiz will introduce you to a short summary of a very classic book, The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. Please read the short summary carefully and when you are ready, proceed to answer the ten questions that will relate to the story. See if you can find the correct answers without having to look back at the summary.

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By Pearl S. Buck (A Summary)

Wang Lung is a poor young farmer in rural, turn-of-the-century China. During the time in which the novel takes place, Chinese society is showing signs of modernization while remaining deeply connected to ancient traditions and customs. When Wang Lung reaches a marriageable age, his father approaches the powerful local Hwang family to ask if they have a spare slave who could marry his son. The Hwangs agree to sell Wang a 20-year-old slave named O-lan who becomes his wife. O-lan and Wang Lung are pleased with each other, although they exchange few words and Wang is initially disappointed that O-lan does not have bound feet.

Together, Wang Lung and O-lan cultivate a bountiful and profitable harvest from their land. O-lan becomes pregnant, and Wang Lung is overjoyed when O-lan’s first child is a son. Meanwhile, the powerful Hwang family lives decadently - the husband is obsessed with women, and the wife is an opium addict. Because of their costly habits, the Hwangs fall on hard times, and Wang Lung is able to purchase a piece of their fertile rice land. He enjoys another profitable harvest, and O-lan gives birth to another son. Wang Lung’s new wealth catches the attention of his greedy, lazy uncle. Custom dictates that Wang Lung must show the utmost respect to members of the older generation, especially relatives, so he is forced to loan his uncle money despite knowing that the money will be wasted on drinking and gambling. The Hwang family’s finances continue to falter, and the Hwangs sell another tract of land to Wang Lung.

After O-lan gives birth to a daughter, a terrible famine settles on the land. In the midst of this crisis, O-lan gives birth to another daughter. She strangles the second girl because there is not enough food to feed the baby and the rest of the family. Wang Lung is forced to take his family to a southern city for the winter. There, O-lan and the children beg while Wang Lung earns money by transporting people in a rented rickshaw. They earn just enough money to eat. Wang Lung begins to despair of ever making enough money to return to his land. He and O-lan briefly consider selling their surviving daughter as a slave. Eventually, a group of poor and desperate people ransack a rich man’s home and Wang Lung and O-lan join them. Wang Lung steals a pile of gold coins. With this new wealth, he moves the family back home and purchases a new ox and some seeds. O-lan had stolen some jewels during the looting. Wang Lung allows her to keep two small pearls, but he takes the rest and hurries to buy three hundred acres of Old Master Hwang’s land. O-lan gives birth to twins shortly thereafter. The couple realize that their oldest daughter is severely retarded, but Wang Lung loves the child dearly.

Wang Lung hires laborers to plant and harvest his land. He enjoys several years of profitable harvests and becomes a rich man. When a flood forces him to be idle, he begins to feel restless and bored. He finds fault with O-lan’s appearance and cruelly criticizes her for having big feet. He becomes obsessed with Lotus, a beautiful, delicate prostitute with bound feet. Eventually, he purchases Lotus to be his concubine. When O-lan becomes terminally ill, Wang Lung regrets his cruel words and comes to appreciate everything his wife has done for him. Meanwhile, to lessen the demands of his uncle and his uncle’s wife, who have moved their family into his house and continued to exploit his wealth, he tricks them into becoming opium addicts. Eventually, Wang Lung rents the Hwangs’ house and moves into it with his family, leaving his own house to his uncle’s family.

After O-lan’s death, Wang Lung’s sons begin to rebel against his plans for their life. They do not want to work as farmers and do not have his devotion to the land. Furthermore, his first and second sons often argue over money, and their wives develop an intense animosity toward one another. In his old age, Wang Lung takes a young slave, Pear Blossom, as a concubine. She promises to care for his retarded daughter after his death. In time, Wang Lung is surrounded by grandchildren, but he is also surrounded by petty family disagreements. By the end of the novel, despite Wang’s passionate dissent, his sons plan to sell the family land and divide the money among themselves, signaling their final break with the land that made them wealthy.
This story takes place in ________.
The story takes place at the turn-of-the-century China. Answer (a) is correct
The lead character in the story is _______.
Master Hwang
Wang Lung
Pear Blossom
The main character the story is based around is that of Wang Lung. Answer (b) is the correct answer
O-lan did not have _______.
any siblings
a dowry
bound feet
O-lan did not have bound feet. Answer (d) is correct
Wang Lung was able to purchase the Hwang’s __________.
fertile rice land
farm equipment
Wang Lung purchased the Hwang’s fertile rice land. Answer (c) is the correct answer
Chinese custom dictates that Wang Lung must _________.
give of his good fortune to his elders
show utmost respect to the older generations
provide housing to all family members
take on a concubine
Chinese custom dictates that Wang Lung must show utmost respect to the older generations. Answer (b) is the correct answer
O-lan’s first child is _______.
a son
sold into slavery
a girl
O-lan’s first child is a son. Answer (a) is the correct answer
After O-lan gives birth to a daughter, _____________.
the Hwangs give them more land
Wang Lung takes a concubine
a terrible famine settles on the land
Wang Lung becomes disappointed in her
After O-lan gives birth to a daughter, a terrible famine settles on the land. Answer (c) is the correct answer
Wang Lung and O-lan had how many children?
Wang Lung and O-lan have a total of 6 children. They first have two boys and then two daughters (one of which is killed by O-lan) and then they have a set of twins. Answer (d) is the correct answer
Wang Lung becomes obsessed with a prostitute named ______.
Pear Blossom
Rose Blossom
Water Lily
Wang Lung becomes obsessed with a prostitute named Lotus. Answer (a) is the correct answer
At the end of the story Wang Lung’s sons ___________.
take over the care of the land
plan to sell the land and divide the money amongst themselves
move to America
bury their parents side-by-side
At the end of the story Wang Lung’s sons plan to sell the land and divide the money amongst themselves. Answer (b) is correct
Author:  Christine G. Broome

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