The Good Earth is the story of human struggle against the indifferent forces of temptation. As defined in Webster's New World Dictionary, temptation is to induce or entice, as to something immoral. Temptation plays a sizeable role throughout the novel. Wang Lung is enticed a myriad of time to commit acts that go against his morals. Most of the time he is able to overcome and conquer the temptation, but not always able to resist the amplitude of temptation, he sometimes gives in. To overcome temptation, one must have self discipline and a very strong will. Like the great saying goes mind over matter. Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth, is the story of Wang Lung having to life on a very curvy road. One of these curves is temptation.
Wang Lung has to overcome temptation all throughout the story. One example when he must overcome the temptation is when he wants to marry a beautiful woman with bound feet. "And what will we do with a pretty woman? We must have a woman who will tend the house and bear children as she works in the fields, and will a pretty woman do these things? She will be forever thinking about clothes to go with her face!" said Wang Lung's father. If a woman's foot was bound, it was a sign of beauty and was very desirable. Although Wang Lung wanted a woman with bound feet, it was more sensible for him to have one without bound feet, for she would be working in the fields and doing chores around the house. He is lucky that he did not marry a woman with bound feet for she would never have worked and his life would not have come out like it did. "Do you imagine a pretty woman will think your farmer's hands are pleasing as the soft hands of rich man's son, and your sunblack face as beautiful as the golden skin of the others who have had her for their pleasure?" This was also very true. The woman would not like Wang Lung for he had very little money. He was also not pleasing for he had a farmer's hands.