Skip over navigation

The Kitchen God's Wife

Amy Tan

Chapters 7–9

Chapters 4–6

Chapters 7–9, page 2

page 1 of 3
Summary

Chapter 7: Dowry Counting

Winnie continues to arrange her Peanut's meetings with Wen Fu but becomes worried that she will be punished for Peanut's behavior and so refuses to continue being their messenger. It is at this point where Auntie Miao, the matchmaker, comes into the picture. Wen Fu had decided to marry into the family, and Winnie is sure that Auntie Miao had told him and his family the story of Peanut and Winnie's respective families, because Wen Fu's family came over to Winnie's Uncle's house not to ask for Peanut's hand in marriage, but for Winnie's. Winnie is convinced that Auntie Miao must have told Wen Fu about Winnie's rich father.

After the decision has been made for Winnie, New Aunt and Old Aunt decide they must go to Winnie's father to ask his permission. They do this and are welcomed in his house. They speak highly of Wen Fu, but the father has already done his research. Wen Fu's family has offered Winnie 4,000 Yuan, the equivalent of 2,000 US dollars, which was a large amount of money at the time. What is supposed to be done with this money is that Winnie's father is supposed to give the money back to Wen Fu's family on the day of the wedding, claiming that it is enough that they are "sharing a lifetime of [their] families wealth with [his] daughter." In return, the father of the bride was supposed to provide a dowry that equaled that of the gift offered by the groom's family. This money would be the bride's money and only hers, but it would be the only money she would have for life. It was also a custom that the bride's family would buy furniture and other accessories for the couple's new home.

Winnie stays in her father's house for a week and goes shopping with one of his wives, San Ma, for her dowry. Winnie feels as if she is being pampered because San Ma buys her one thing after the other: a bed, an armoire, a dresser, and so on. However, she later finds out that her father's other daughters had received a much larger dowry. Winnie also says that this furniture was gone soon after her marriage—Wen Fu's family had sold it to the foreigners as part of their export business. It was because of this act on behalf of her new in- laws that Wen Fu stole ten pairs of silver chopsticks from Wen Fu's mother. And yet, despite all of this, Winnie was still hopeful.

Chapter 8: Too Much Yin

Three days before Winnie's wedding to Wen Fu, Peanut overhears two stories: one is about Wen Fu's family and the other is about sex and about a young girl who had "too much Yin."

The story about Wen Fu's family was that they were in a dirty la- sa—garbage—business. They sold Chinese "garbage" to foreigners. For example, they would approach the very, very poor and ask to buy the portraits of their ancestors, which they would have to sell in order to eat. Wen Fu's family would later sell these portraits overseas to the British, the Americans, or the French. This was a terrible thing to do, and it made Winnie think of her new family in a less optimistic way.

The other story was about a man who had married a woman of whom his family did not approve. One day the man and the woman were in their room, and the man died during intercourse with his wife. She began to scream and when she was found, it was discovered that the man was still inside of her. It took a trip to the hospital to separate the dead man from his wife. Everyone said that the man died because the woman had too much "yin," (female essence) and that the "yin" had drawn out all of his "yang" (male essence). Winnie was innocent and knew nothing about sex and, on her wedding night, was afraid to sleep with her husband.

More Help

Previous Next

Readers' Notes allow users to add their own analysis and insights to our SparkNotes—and to discuss those ideas with one another. Have a novel take or think we left something out? Add a Readers' Note!

Follow Us