The Good Earth and The Sun Also Rises: Establishing an Identity In many works of fiction, a main character is faced with problems while attempting to achieve their personal goals. Through solving these problems and attempting to reach their goals, characters discover their own personal identity in life. They try to achieve what they want and to find what makes them happy. For example in The Good Earth, by Pearl Buck, Wang Lung, a farmer, is faced with the problem of droughts and floods. With no rain, his crops die from lack of water; with floods, a majority of his crops die because of too much water. These problems inhibit Wang Lung from his ultimate goal.
Wang Lung wants to be a wealthy landowner, but he can not achieve these goals when he can not make money from his crops. Another good example comes from Earnest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. Brett Ashley goal is to be with the one man that she truly loves, Jake Barnes. She knows she can never be fully satisfied by him as she is with the other men she has been with. She must establish a new definition of love if she wants to be with Jake. In The Good Earth, Wang Lung faced problems that cause him to take desperate measures to recover.
When the drought killed most of his harvest his family had no food for the winter. But despite this, Wang Lung took what silver he had and bought land. He was so determined to own land and become rich that he sacrificed his savings for it. Because of this, the family is forced to migrate south to work and beg for food. He took advantage of the drought and bought when land was cheap. Neither had Heaven sent rains upon the fields of the House of Hwang and there, too, there were no harvests, and so when Wang Lung came to the agent crying, I have silver, it was as though one came saying to the hungry, I have food.
(Buck, PP 49) This sacrifice Proved to be worth it when the drought was over It gave Wang Lung a good start on getting rich. He was able to start with more land, making more money the following harvest. He bought more land each year, until he had more harvest than he and his hired men could take care of. This is how Wang Lung established himself Wang the Rich Man. (Buck, PP 224) In The Sun Also Rises, Brett Ashley is faced with Jakes impotence. She knew that he could never please her the way she wanted, but she was still in love with him.
She felt like they needed each other, but felt like a relationship would destroy them. She told him at one point that they should never see each other again. Good night, darling. I wont see you again. (Hemingway, PP 65) But this destroyed her even more. Eventually, Jake and Brett met up again.
She is with a new man, Mike Campbell, with whom she is engaged. Jake began to realize that they could not be together, because he can not repay her for her kindness with what she wants. She realizes this too. They make one last attempt to patch things up, but they both decide that they are better without each other. Both Wang Lung and Brett Ashley tried to seek their goals and identities. They each use a process to try to achieve their goals; Wang Lung through money and Brett through companionship.
Wang Lung achieved his, but Brett realizes hers will never work.