O-Lan
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

O-Lan

The Good Earth

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About Her

Grew Up... a slave. As a child, O-Lan was "sold to a great house so that my parents could return to their home." But despite (or perhaps because of) their wealth, the Hwangs were cruel masters, treating O-Lan as nothing more than a disposable slave rather than a person.

Living... in 1900s rural China. Between the droughts and famines, it's not an easy world to grow up in. That’s especially true, if you happen to be a woman, and rather unattractive to boot.

Profession… former slave turned peasant. Although O-Lan is glad to be away from the Hwangs, her new life with Wang Lung is hardly a picnic either. Since they are both peasant farmers, they have to work extremely hard to feed themselves. Still, at least she's free.

Interests… keeping her new life afloat. Accustomed to being steps away from poverty, O-Lan works hard to ensure that her family has enough to survive on. Hobbies? Maybe someday when if she isn’t constantly worrying about starving.

Relationship Status… married to Wang Lung. Because of their marriage, O-Lan was able to escape the Hwangs, and so she's grateful to Wang Lung for that. But while Wang Lung appreciates her help on the farm, O-Lan knows that he still considers her plain.

Challenge… keeping her family alive. Growing up without a family, O-Lan is all the more determined to give her children a good life. It's not always an easy task – and hardly ever a thankful one – but O-Lan is devoted to her life with Wang Lung.  

Personality… silent, self-sacrificing, and strong. Wise, humble, and hard-working, O-Lan is a caring mother and very competent housekeeper – the type of wife even Confucius would have trouble finding fault with. O-Lan, however, has trouble seeing herself that way. In her eyes, "I am ugly and cannot be loved." She’d have a better chance at happiness if she wasn’t so hard on herself, but given how difficult her life has been it’s no surprise she has self-esteem issues.

O-Lan's popularity ranking on CharacTour is #4884 out of 5,300+ characters. See our top-ranked characters and read their profiles.


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