Sue Min Huang

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Pearl Buck stayed in China from 1892 until 1931. During these years she experienced living with all classes of Chinese people, from the very poor peasantry to intellectual college students and learned professors in Nanking. During this time, the Chinese farming folk which consisted of four-fifths of the total Chinese population, also went through tremendous cultural and generational changes when industrialization and western ideas-were gradually introduced to the agricultural kingdom. The purpose of this thesis is to examine and evaluate Pearl Buck's demonstration of changing family values as manifested in Chinese farming folk in the early twentieth century to determine whether it is, a most Chinese critics believe, prejudiced. The thesis is limited to three novels, The Good Earth, Sons, and House Divided which compose Pearl Buck's trilogy, House of Earth. It does not attempt to compare her presentation of Chinese family values in House of Earth with that of her other novels on China nor with that of other writers. It attempts only to catch Pearl Buck's picture of the changing nature of family values from the old China to the new China under the impact .of generational distance and western cultural influence. In Chapter I the writer reviews the incidents of Pearl Buck's life and related literature in order to show that Pearl Buck has the solid training and Chinese cultural background to establish a bridge for passing between the East and West. In addition, the criticism· of House of Earth is surveyed. In Chapter II a study of the plan and purpose of House of Earth is presented. A short survey of the Middle Kingdom's recent historical background and the life of the Chinese tanners against this background comprises Chapter III. Traditional teaching in China comes at the beginning of Chapter IV in order to interpret the family life in House of Earth. Finally, a chapter examining the generational and cultural distance found in the three novels concludes the thesis.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Buck, Pearl S. (Pearl Sydenstricker), 1892-1973. House of Earth
Buck, Pearl S. (Pearl Sydenstricker), 1892-1973 -- Criticism and interpretation



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University