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The Kitchen God's Wife

Amy Tan

Chapters 16–18

Chapters 13–15

Chapters 16–18, page 2

page 1 of 3
Summary

Chapter 16: The Great World

Winnie gives birth to a baby boy. She names him Danru, which means "nonchalance." After having Danru in the hospital, she goes home on her own, without notifying anyone at the house or Wen Fu. When she arrives at home she sees that there is a woman sleeping in her bed. When she goes downstairs, confusedly, Helen introduces her to her aunt that has come to stay with them. This woman is Auntie Du. Auntie Du mentions traveling with her daughter, which makes Winnie think that the woman upstairs in her bed is this woman's daughter. Soon, however, she finds out that she it is not Auntie Du's daughter and that it is a woman that Wen Fu has brought into the house. She allows this young woman named Min to be Wen Fu's concubine under the pretext that she is the sister of one of Wen Fu's fellow pilots, which is the lie Wen Fu had told Winnie. By allowing this woman to be Wen Fu's concubine in disguise, Winnie no longer has to succumb to her husband at night.

Winnie becomes friends with Min, who was a singer/dancer and who had worked as a performer at The Great World, which is compared to an adult amusement arcade of sorts. Min teaches Winnie to dance, and Winnie teaches Min how to write her name, how to behave with proper manners, and even suggests that when she becomes an actress she should call herself "Miss Golden Throat."

Winnie's secret about who Min's true identity goes undetected until Auntie Du confronts Winnie, informing her (unknowing that she knows all of this already) that Wen Fu is having an affair with Min and that Min is pregnant. Winnie becomes embarrassed that everyone at the house knows the truth but does not want to kick Min out. She, therefore, creates a plan in which she will ask for a divorce. Wen Fu rejects this and tells her that she will never tell him what to do. The next morning Min is gone. Winnie feels badly about this and tries to find out to where she has gone. When she finds Min, Min tells her that she has already gotten an abortion but accepts the money that Winnie offers her anyway.

A week later, Helen tells Winnie that Min has already run off with another man, which makes Winnie feel better, since it makes Winnie feel as if she no longer has to worry about Min.

Chapter 17: The Four Gates

Winnie has moments of happiness with her son, Danru, who is already ten months old. Her marriage, however, becomes worse and worse, just as the war is becoming worse. The British are involved and have closed off the Burma Road and cannot decide on which side they are. The Americans are not any better and many of the Chinese themselves have succumbed to the Japanese. There are rallies, protests, and constant bomb threats.

Wen Fu and Jiaguo leave for two–three months to train people who have recently arrived and volunteered to defend the new capital. Whereas Winnie is glad to be rid of her husband for a short period of time, Helen becomes paranoid and excessively worried. She takes to eating compulsively, and, one day, she mistakes a flock of birds for fighter planes. Realizing that she cannot see well after this incident, Winnie takes Helen to the marketplace to buy a pair of glasses. While they are there, however, an alarm goes of telling people to run to the nearest gate because the Japanese are coming. After a mad run for the gates, everyone is relieved when they see that the Japanese have bombed another area of the city. That night, they celebrate and eat and talk and laugh. And when this happens again and again, they celebrate also but each time with a more somber tone and with less joy. The bomb threats continue three times a week until one day the bombs actually fell.

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