November 23, 2008

Discussion: Pavilion of Women by Pearl S. Buck

1. How does the character of Madame Wu strike you? In what ways did you find her admirable, and in what ways flawed?

2. Madame Wu relates herself to her orchids and seems to have an almost magical relationship with them. What do you think is meant by this symbolism?

3. What do you think about Madame Wu's relationship with her husband?

4. What do you think about the priest's belief system and his effect on Madame Wu?

5. Does this book show Western influence on traditional Chinese culture in a positive or negative light?

1 comment:

  1. First, Marie, thanks for picking this book. It was much better than I remember Good Earth to be like. This wasn't my favorite book, but I'm glad I read it.

    I didn't particularly like Madame Wu, though I certainly don't envy her situation. She was living in a time where different people had very different understandings of her role in the house and how she should handle everything.

    Buck seems to have a view that Western influence on China is in some ways good, but by no means in in all. If anything, she seems to identify more with Chinese culture.


Thanks for joining our discussion of this book!

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