About 30 years ago, my mother bought this gigantic series of World Classics that composed of about 50+ major works of world writers, including Charles Dickens, Anatole France, John Steinbeck, Emile Zola, Leo Tolstoy, Kawabata Yasunari (Nobel prize-winning author of Snow Country), and Herman Melville. I grew up with a natural aspiration to read them all, an unfinished project my mother had left off after she got married.
The famous classic called ‘The Good Earth‘ by Pearl S. Buck was divided into two volumes in that series, containing all three books that make up the title (the Good Earth, Sons, and A House Divided) I enjoyed the first book tremendously, less so the second book, and almost swallowed the final one. I read A House Divided little bit older than when I interacted with the first two, so I could better understand the character and the theme that concerned the destructible transition of modernization in feudal China.
As soon as I finished A House Divided I naturally advanced to the translator’s afterword that narrated the personal life and works of Pearl S. Buck that were as interesting as the novel itself. I learned how she acquired her incredible understanding of Chinese culture from early in her childhood under her missionary father. I just admire her genius to put her naturally absorbed ‘understanding other culture’ into such a effortless prose overflowing “with such love, compassion and humanity.”
After reading Ms. Buck, I got an ambition to write a piece someday that seriously reflects the lessons I acquired through my experience of encountering another culture. There are a bulk of people out there in the world who denounce multiculturalism, but I consider myself privileged to live in a part that celebrates it. 😉