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An Eco-feminist Interpretation of the Good Earth

Author WangYan
Tutor ZhangShengTing
School Northwest Normal University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Pearl S. Buck eco-feminism The Good Earth female nature
CLC I712.074
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
Downloads 244
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In the world of literature, Pearl S. Buck as a controversial female writer wrote many works about China andits people against cross-culture background. In1938, Pearl S. Buck won the Noble Prize for her trilogy TheHouse of Earth and thereupon became the first female winner in America. This thesis intends to analyze theeco-feminist consciousness reflected in The Good Earth in the light of eco-feminism, with an aim to offer are-reading of The Good Earth so as to explore the relationship between male and female, humans and nature.The thesis is composed of five chapters.Chapter One is a general introduction to Pearl S. Buck and a brief summary of The Good Earth.Chapter Two is the literature review. This part is the historical review on Pearl S. Buck and The Good Earthat home and abroad, which aims at showing the reason why eco-feminist theory is chosen and explaining thesignificance of this study.Chapter Three focuses on the theory of Eco-feminism. With the emergence of eco-feminism in the1970s, itoriginates from a combination of western environmental movement and feminism. Until1990s, it is recognizedas a component of literary criticism. After the appearance of the eco-feminism, many scholars study this newcritic approach and express their own definition. Although they stress different aspects of the eco-feminism, theyshare the common ground on the issue of woman and nature. Eco-feminism emphasizes the association betweenthe patriarchal society’s oppression of women and its domination of the natural world. Eco-feminist calls uponthe construction of the harmonious society with the principle of ecology and feminism between men and women,human and nature. The relationship between women and men, nature and human in The Good Earth is in linewith the fundamental structure of the eco-feminist literary criticism.Chapter Four is mainly a case study of Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth, the thesis is supposed to state hereco-feminist ideas from three aspects: the symbolic relationship between nature and females in light of the“feminized” nature and “naturalized” female in the novel. In the patriarchal society, women and nature as“otherness” reinforces the interconnection between each other. Compared with some female writers witheco-feminist consciousness in certain literary works, Pearl S. Buck keenly perceives the complicatedrelationship between the protagonist Wang Lung and the land during the different periods of his life. The land isnot positioned as “otherness” in male-oriented society. Wang Lung is attached to the land in terms of materialand spirit. Meanwhile, it reveals the domination and separation between Wang Lung and O-lan in patriarchalsystem. Although she accuses of oppression women and dominating of land, Pearl S. Buck explores the ideal relationship between men and women, human and nature in patriarchal society. Wang Lung’s attachment toO-lan as well as the land reveals her holistic and diverse world based on feminine consciousness and ecologicalthoughts.Chapter Five is the conclusion of the thesis. By analyzing the plots in The Good Earth, it is concluded thateven though she is limited in time, Pearl S. Buck, as an avant-garde of eco-feminism, is greatly concerned withthe ideal relationship between men and women, human and nature in patriarchal society. The attachmentbetween men and women, human and nature reveals Pearl’s eco-feminist thoughts as well as the core ofeco-feminism. In the context of discrimination against disadvantaged groups and increasingly worsening naturalecology, the attachment between men and women, human and nature is beneficial to the sustainable and stabledevelopment of the society. Pearl S. Buck sets an ideal example for eco-feminism in patriarchal society. Theapplication of eco-feminism could provide some new perspective of the research on Pearl S. Buck and her otherworks.

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