On Thursday, February 21st, at 12:00 p.m. in the Library Conference Room, Library Dean Sara Baron will lead a discussion of The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck. The Good Earth is the author’s haunting story of peasant life in China during the final years of imperial rule. Since its publication in 1931, the novel has been enormously influential, introducing millions of readers in the West to Chinese culture.
The daughter of Presbyterian missionaries, Pearl Buck was born in West Virginia, but grew up in China, where she received a Chinese and Western education. Her first language was Chinese, and she considered herself culturally both Chinese and American. In addition to writing nearly 70 books, Pearl Buck was also one of the 20th century’s most important humanitarian figures, taking up issues largely ignored at the time, such as the plight of Asian bi-racial children. In 1949, she established the Welcome House adoption program to “find adoptive families for bi-racial children that were considered ‘unadoptable’ because of their ethnic status.”
Gale Literature Resource Center has some good articles about Pearl Buck and The Good Earth, but first-time readers may wish to check out Oprah’s Book Club, which read the book in 2004. The Good Earth was adapted for cinema shortly after publication of the book. After three years of production, the film was released in 1937, winning the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for that year. We will view clips from the film at the book discussion.
The Book Club selected The Good Earth as its February book to compliment and support the University’s Global Roundtable, Leading in the Name of Jesus, which will be held on February 22nd.