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The Kitchen God's Wife

Amy Tan

Chapters 22–24

Chapters 19–21

Chapters 22–24, page 2

page 1 of 3

Chapter 22: One Season Left

Winnie and Jimmy Louie made a plan in which she would call him the night before and say, "open the door, you can already see the mountain" when it was time for her to run away. Before she left, however, she began to think of her father and that if she left, Wen Fu would use him as a weapon and have him killed. She chose her life, however, above her father's and decided to escape anyway. Nevertheless, she felt guilty and decided to tell her father that she was leaving her miserable marriage. Her father never spoke anymore and was more or less catatonic because of his stroke. And yet, when she told him this, he opened the rod to the one scroll that was left—the spring season painting he had thrown tea on (Wen Fu had sold the rest of the scrolls)—and he took out three gold ingots which he then gave to his daughter in a moment of clarity. Winnie left them in the rod and told her father she would collect them before leaving.

Chapter 23: Sincerely Yours Truly

This chapter is framed through the action of looking through a scrapbook. Winnie shows her daughter the pictures that Jimmy Louie had taken and collected of her, and as she shows the pictures, Winnie tells Pearl what had been going on in her life when each of the pictures were taken. Winnie had escaped to Jimmy Louie and had lived with him happily and in love, but not without the fear that Wen Fu would find her and Danru. After hearing that two men had come looking for her and Danru, Winnie decides to send Danru to Harbin to stay with Auntie Du, Helen, and Jiaguo. But while there, Danru dies because diseases that infected rats had been spreading after the war.

A while after Danru's death, for which Winnie blames herself, Winnie is taken to jail. Wen Fu was suing her for taking their son, for stealing valuables from the house, and for deserting her Chinese husband in order to run away with a foreigner. Winnie protested and said that she was already divorced from this man but that he had destroyed the papers when he had ravaged her lawyer's office. Auntie Du testified to having been there for the divorce but because the papers were unavailable, Winnie was sentenced to two years in prison. The case reached the newspapers and became a scandal, making Winnie a kind of beautiful celebrity among young girls in Shanghai.

While Winnie was in jail, Wen Fu had tried to make Jimmy's life miserable and had succeeded in having the American Consulate force him to go back to the United States. Jimmy wrote Winnie love letters from America and told everyone that he was married, considering Winnie his wife. Also, while in jail Winnie finds out that Peanut and Little Yu's mother had run away from the house they had been living in. And, Winnie also receives news of her father's death.

Chapter 24: Favor

One day Auntie Du brings Winnie a surprise during one of her many visits to the jail. The surprise is a pregnant Helen, who has remarried a man named Kuang An, who is the Uncle Henry that Pearl knows. Kuang An was so in love with Helen that he would do anything for her, and, thus, he agreed to use his connections in the government to help Winnie out of jail. Two months later, Winnie is released as a result of a "court error."

When Winnie arrives at Helen and Kuang An's house she sees that there is no money, and so she finally brings out the silver chopsticks she had been hiding for such a long time. Also while there, she finds out that unbeknownst to Helen, it was not really Kuang An who had managed to have Winnie released from jail, it was actually Auntie Du. Auntie Du tells Winnie that she had gone to the authorities and told them that Winnie was having a relationship with a communist leader whose name was very secret and that if the communists found out that Winnie was in jail there would be serious trouble.

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