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When Wang Lung discusses his son's problem with Lotus, she suggests the daughter of a grain merchant for the son. Cuckoo volunteers to negotiate a marriage between the two, but Wang Lung declines. Then he finds out that his eldest son has been on wild escapades with uncle's son. When Wang threatens to throw uncle and his family out of the house, uncle reveals that he is a member of a gang of bandits. If he is thrown out, the bandits will come to pillage and plunder the House of Wang.
Wang decides that the best thing for settling down his son is marriage. Therefore, he agrees to the daughter of the grain merchant. Unfortunately, the girl is presently to young to be married, so only a betrothal can take place.
A sense of urgency is felt in this chapter when Wang realizes that things are getting out of hand with his eldest son. He is given to fits of melancholy and is running wild with uncle's son. O-Lan says that Wang needs to find a woman for the eldest son in order to settle him down. Lotus suggests the daughter of a grain merchant that she knows, and Cuckoo agrees to make the arrangements. Unfortunately, the marriage must wait, for the girl is too young.
New information about the uncle is learned in this chapter. He reveals that he belongs to a gang of bandits. He lets Wang know that if he is ever thrown out of the House of Wang, the bandits will pillage and plunder his house. Wang is upset to learn that he is really under uncle's control.
The dreaded locusts also arrive in this chapter. Wang knows that he can survive in spite of the damage they may cause. Ironically, the locusts are almost a blessing to him. Because he must work constantly to save the fields from the locusts, he has no time to worry about anything else.