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In this chapter, the great changes in the city are depicted; the revolution has become a full-fledged affair. Printed handouts with pictures are distributed everywhere. On asking for an explanation, Wang is told that the picture is of the capitalists bearing down on the poor people. One day Wang sees young men, much like himself, being caught and carried away. He learns that they are to be used during the revolution. Fearing for his own safety, Wang Lung works only in the night.
One day a great roaring sound is heard, and Wang learns that the gates of the wealthy have been broken; the revolutionaries are in the house and plundering the riches. Wang Lung, along with the rest of the crowd, is pushed inside where he sees true wealth and opulence for the first time. At first, he is unable to steal like the others, but finally takes gold from a fat man and leaves exultant. The stolen gold provides a means for him to return to his land.
This chapter marks a turning point in Wang Lung's life. Unrest and revolution has broken out everywhere in Kiangsu. Wang is horrified at the events, but O-Lan seems to have been expecting it. When the people speak about the rich life they will lead when they conquer the gentry and acquire their wealth, Wang Lung declares that he will simply return to his land; the others laugh at his provincial thoughts.
When the uprising finally takes place and the gates to the wealthy are broken, Wang is pushed inside with the others. At first he is unable to steal, because it is against his nature. When he sees a fat, rich man slobbering for mercy while holding his gold, Wang is incensed. He seizes all the gold from him that he can. His only thought, of course, is that the money will allow him to return to his land.