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Wang Lung gained an abundance of wealth by working hard. Wang Lung begins the novel as a poor, simple, young farmer who married a slave, and ends it as a wealthy, honorable man with enough money and power to own mistresses. He was so poor, on his wedding day, while Wang Lung washed himself, his father was complaining at the waste of so much water. Even a bowl of tea was a luxury for a poor farmer. After two years of good harvests, Wang Lung earns enough silver to spare to buy more land. When Wang Lung buys a piece of land from the Hwangs, it proves that he is growing richer. Then the drought hits and the family moves south. O-lan and the two boys have to earn money by begging. Wang Lung finds a job pulling a rickshaw, and, with effort, he is able to earn enough money to feed his family. The difficult months in the south strengthen Wang Lung's love of the land and of hard work. He doesn't like the idea of begging; he prefers the backbreaking labor of pulling a rickshaw around the city. When his sons begin to steal, he is more determined than ever to return to his land and earn an honest living. When Wang Lung gets enough gold to move back to the farm, he buys more animals and builds new rooms for his house.
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Wang Lung continues to adjust to the lifestyle of the rich. He purchases new clothing for his family and slaves, he sleeps late, and he takes a liking to expensive foods, as the Hwangs once did. At last, he achieved his goal of accumulating a great fortune, his wealth surpasses or at least equals what the Hwangs once had.
Wang Lung attained a high social status. When Wang Lung visited the great House of Hwang for the first time, the mean, vulgar gate man forced Wang Lung to pay him silver before he will allow him inside the gate. Although the gate man was a servant, he had no respect toward Wang Lung and felt he was of a higher status than Wang Lung. While the Hwangs pursued women and drugs, making their fortune slide, the hardworking Wang Lung continues to thrive. When Wang Lung returns again with O-lan and their new son, the gatekeeper is impressed with Wang Lung's new suit and invites him in for a cup of tea. Wang Lung was originally awed by the great house. On the second visit, he does not drink the tea brought to him by the gate man's wife, as if the tea was not good enough for him. In China, being parents of healthy sons, improves social status because they can depend on her sons to support them when they're old. When Wang Lung's eldest son starts to skip school and become more interested in women, O-lan compared him to a young lord. O-lan tells him that their son is not like them, since he was never forced to work, he had time to feel sorry for himself. Wang Lung is secretly pleased at the idea that his son is as spoiled as a lord and decides that it is time to find a wife for him. They also set up tablets, when they move to the great House of Hwang, of their ancestors to worship during feast days, as other great families do. Wang Lung achieved a high social status with hard work and love for his land.
In conclusion, despite the many disasters of the bookfamine, drought, and flood; Wang Lung prospers as a successful man.