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In The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, the farmer Wang Lung and his family go through a time of famine. In that time, girls were not very valued, and he could have sold his as a slave or even just abandoned her because of the financial burden. In fact, people urged him to.

He also didn't really seem to get love. He liked his wife for being strong and frugal but didn't like that she wasn't pretty and had a mistress, he was proud of his sons for being literate but allowed them to be so for his own pride.

Why did Wang Lung keep his daughter during the famine?

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It's clear from the text that Wang Lung loved his eldest daughter. Chapter 9:

This persistence of the small life in some way won her father’s affection, although if she had been round and merry as the others had been at her age he would have been careless of her for a girl. Sometimes, looking at her he whispered softly:

‘Poor fool—poor little fool.’ And once when she essayed a weak smile with her toothless gums showing, he broke into tears and took into his lean hard hand her small claw and held the tiny grasp of her fingers over his forefinger. Thereafter he would sometimes lift her, all naked as she lay, and thrust her inside the scant warmth of his coat against his flesh and sit with her so by the threshold of the house, looking out over the dry, flat fields.

And later:

Only a few of the beans did Wang Lung hide in his own hand and these he put into his own mouth and he chewed them into a soft pulp and then putting his lips to the lips of his daughter he pushed into her mouth the food, and watching her small lips move he felt himself fed.

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