Another theme used is family structure. For example, Wang Lung’s father never had to worry about going hungry, “As for the old man, he fared better than any, for if there was anything to eat he was given it, even though the children were without (Buck 78). ” No matter what the circumstances are, the eldest male in the house will always be served first. Even while there was no women around Wang Lung still had to serve his father.
Associated essay: Themes Developed in Maru
After Wang Lung’s mother died he had to be the one to take care of the old man, “Every morning for these six years the old man had waited for his son to bring in hot water to ease him of his morning coughing (Buck 3). ”Even though Wang Lung is a man with no woman around him, he must take care of the oldest in the house. Pearl Buck is trying to show the respect and loyalty that people in China have for family. One last theme used in the novel, is the subjugation of women.
For example, when Wang Lung is thinking of selling his daughter O-Lan tells him about her past, “I was beaten with a leather thong which had been halter for one of the mules, and it hung up on the kitchen wall (Buck 135). ” Women were treated as nothing more than an animal. Not only were slaves treated badly but so were the daughters. When Wang Lung is waiting to find out the sex of his baby he reacts badly when he finds that it is a girl, “Wang Lung stood still. A sense of evil struck him. A girl! (Buck 65). Even though Wang Lung wanted children he is sickened to have a daughter. Pearl Buck is trying to show people just how far that women have come. All in all three themes that Pearl Buck uses are survival, family structure, and the subjugation of women. Some points that Pearl Buck is trying to point out are that survival changes people in drastic ways, family order always comes first, and that women are treated no better than animals. There are many more themes in this novel to show the importance of Chinese culture.