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The war had begun in China without them even knowing it because the newspapers were unreliable and news traveled mainly through word of mouth and through gossip.
This chapter discusses the relationship between Helen (or Hulan) and Winnie as well as the character of Wen Fu. Winnie began to notice that Wen Fu was popular with the other soldiers and that they liked him but that he also frightened them with his "scaring" games. Hulan, on the other hand, was the one who scolded her husband and not the other way around, and it was not until later that Winnie found out why Jiaguo never complained about his wife's scoldings.
Helen and Winnie had discovered a pavilion where they shared their lives and their secrets with each other. Winnie revealed her innocence and naiveté about sex and about her body, and Helen helped her to know the truth about the ways of the female body. In fact, it was Helen who informed Winnie that she was pregnant. Helen also shared secrets about herself. She told Winnie the story of a young girl who had become impregnated by a man who would not take her in as his wife and would not take responsibility for the coming child. The woman, when she was about to have the baby, went to the man's house in a desperate state, begging for him to take her in. The man refused, and the woman and child died during labor. The man was Jiaguo, and the woman was Helen's sister. It was because of this that Jiaguo had married Helen, out of pity and guilt. But it had turned out to be a good marriage, and Jiaguo proved himself a good man.
Wen Fu continues his cruelty toward Winnie and rapes her when she fears having sex because she is pregnant and asks him to stop. It is at this time in the story also that Winnie begins to think of the possibility of Wen Fu's death, wondering whether she would care if he died, since it is at this time that the pilots begin to fly off o war.
The pilots were said to have come back victorious, but the truth was another story all together. The pilots had intended a surprise attack on the Japanese, but, instead, the Japanese surprised them. And in an attempt to hurriedly drop bombs on a Japanese site, the Chinese missed the target and dropped bombs on their own people, innocent ones, instead.
A tension begins to build in Winnie and Helen's friendship, and the air force is moved to Yangchow. Yangchow is a horrible place of mud and dirt, a place, as Winnie says, that the Japanese would never want. It is also, however, where Winnie and Helen become friends again, and the tensions dissipate. Another important occurrence during their stay in Yangchow is the development of Winnie's relationship with another pilot named Gan.
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The Kitchen God's Wife is the second novel by Chinese-American author, Amy Tan. First published in 1991, it deals extensively with Sino-American female identity and draws on the story of her mother's life.
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