I'm having a difficult time rating/reviewing this book. I think I'm trying to look past the 'cultural imperialism' argument (though I've not always decided to set that aside) and focus on the novel itself. It has some significant heft, tracking one farmer's rise to wealth and prominence and all that he gives up to obtain this status.There is such injustice in the Good Earth: male over female, urban over rural, older generation over the younger, wealth over poverty... It's a rough life. And the code of honor/respect that holds all of this imbalance in place makes it almost a tragedy of manners.Wang Lung has some things right about him, but most of these are internal. The things that are most right and honorable in him, to my modern Western eyes, are those things he must sublimate in order to outwardly project the proper character of the landed gentry. He suppresses urges to act compassionately so that he may look a proper lord.He also has a good many things wrong about him and these he can present to the world. He satisfies baser desires at the expense of loved ones in order to appear more lordly and above concern for any emotional distress he may cause. The end result is a picture of a man who is outwardly a ruthless climber. Inwardly, he is a mixed bag, someone for whom I can feel some sympathy - disappointment rather than scorn.