Pearl Buck's modern classic The Good Earth tells the story of two Chinese families at the turn of the twentieth century. The poor, industrious Lungs and the wealthy, corrupt Hwangs become involved when young Wang Lung marries O-lan, a slave of the Hwang family. The marriage is good and prosperous, with husband and wife working the land, and gradually adding to their holdings, even as the Hwangs are forced to sell off parcels of their property. O-lan bears many children, and is forced to do away with an infant daughter in a time of famine. The family fortunes take another turn when they join a group of desperate people in looting the house of a rich man. Their prosperity cannot ensure happiness: O-lan becomes terminally ill, Wang Lung takes concubines, and the large family he has raised quarrel and want to go their separate ways. Wang Lung grieves for the wife whom he did not always appreciate as he should have done, while he foresees the breakup of his landed estate. Buck’s novel is a moving and insightful study of a culture undergoing a profound transition.