Saturday, 20 September 2014

A House Divided by Pearl Buck

A couple of days ago, I finished reading the novel,  A House Divided by Pearl Buck, which was first published in 1935.

I found this literary novel, in which Pearl Buck tells the fictional story of Wang Yuan, son of Tiger,   a Chinese war lord. difficult to read due to its style.

In childhood, Yuan feared his father whose sword was never far from his hand. At the age of nineteen Yuan joined the revolutionists, 'who were the enemies of all lords of war such as the Tiger was.'  He returns home wearing his uniform.  His father is about to kill him " But for the first time in his life the Tiger's son showed the anger he had in him, but which he had never dared to show before his father."

A House Divided reveals the era prior to the Chinese Revolution, as well as Wang Yuan's uncertainties, selective memory and narrow-mindedness.

Although Yuan is arrested for being a revolutionary, he escapes execution after his family bribe the authorities. He is sent to America where he studies agriculture with the hope of one day improving ordinary Chinese people's lives.  Seven years later, he returns home.

Pearl Buck tells the reader how Yuan reacts to America and Americans as well as his reactions when he returns to China, where poverty- stricken people's situation, and the upper class's attitude towards them has not changed. Daughter of missionaries Pearl Buck's descriptions of beggars and naked children obviously came from her heart.

A House Divided is not only about the effects of change on Yuan and his family but also about Yuan's divided, uncertain heart.

All in all, I am glad I persevered and read the entire novel because I learned so much about past times.

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