I just started reading Pearl Buck's novel. In high school I picked it up and got about halfway through it before setting it down. Being older the struggles of Wang Lung and O-Lan seem to to be more meaningful, I feel I am more able to empathize with their struggle to eek out a living and the trials of life and living with the decisions they have made.
In the first few pages I was struck by the old father's comment to Wang Lung about making some tea in the morning.
"Why are you wasteful? Tea is like eating silver."
That is poverty and subsistance farming, if in tea is to valuable to drink. Every morning I wake up to a nice cup of tea and would really miss it without it being there, though I think it is funny that today I drank two glasses of orange juice while reading...