A day after having been released from jail, Winnie sends a telegram to Jimmy in America, and while she is sending it she meets again with "Beautiful Betty," the telegraph operator who had not died in Nanking, but who had used the money, which Winnie had sent for and forgotten, to escape. Winnie is happy to see her and agrees to have Betty deliver Jimmy's response to her house, whenever it arrives. Two days later, the response arrives that all the papers are in order and that she should leave immediately.

Before leaving, however, Winnie wants to have secured a divorce from Wen Fu, in writing. She and Betty scheme and create a plan that forces Wen Fu to sign divorce papers in front of the woman he is currently with, whom Winnie uses to pressure him into the divorce. But, before she leaves, Wen Fu shows up at her house while she is alone. He puts a gun to her head, rapes her, and is about to steal her tickets. Winnie manages to get possession of the gun while Wen Fu is in the bathroom, however, and Helen enters in the midst of all of this. With Helen's help, Winnie gets the tickets back from Wen Fu. She had bought three so that she would have a better chance of escaping.

Finally, Winnie leaves. Five days after she arrives in America, the communists took over and no one was allowed to leave the country. She had escaped in the nick of time. It is at this point in the story that Winnie tells Pearl that she is Wen Fu's child.


These chapters provide the climax for he novel. Not only are they filled with action, but they are filled with literary know-how of an adventure writer. Tan keeps us on the edge of our seats as Winnie tries to escape and is held back again and again. Winnie tries to leave, and, when she finally does, her son dies, and she is placed in prison. The climax comes in both the final escape from Wen Fu and in the fact that it is in this chapter that Winnie tells her daughter that she is Wen Fu's child. The past and present collide here, and there are climaxes in both worlds—one that has already happened and one that is occurring as the narration happens. Winnie already experienced the escape but Pearl is experiencing, for the first time, the effects of this new knowledge, especially the knowledge of who her true father is. Pearl had not even known about this man until now, and, all of a sudden, she discovers that he is her father. And so there is a sense of release in the last sentence of the chapter when Winnie says, "So, I never told him [Jimmy Louie]. I never told anyone. And nine months later … I had you." Along with this release, however, is the tension and the questions that arise within the reader: "How will Pearl react?"

These chapters also do a great deal for character development. For example, the character of Auntie Du is developed by her actions. She stands up for Winnie in the courtroom, saying that she had seen the divorce papers and had been a witness to the divorce. She is a strong woman and a good woman. This strength shows itself again when she is brave enough to confront the officials about Winnie's prison sentence, lying to them in order to save Winnie. Her goodness also shows itself in the fact that Auntie Du never told Helen that it was not her husband who had helped Winnie out of jail because she wanted Helen to continue to be proud of her new husband. This act, however, also shows Uncle Henry's character. Uncle Henry is a character of whom we know very little, but by the mere fact that he accepts credit for something he did not do and yet shows embarrassment as a result of Winnie's gratitude, illustrates a great deal about his personality.

Also, Winnie herself is shown to be more stubborn than ever in these chapters. Winnie is always claiming that Helen is stubborn, but Winnie is just as stubborn, which is why they have so many fights. And although Winnie shows them to be very different people, they are similar in their stubbornness. Instead of leaving for America as soon as everything is in order, Winnie decides that she wants her divorce from Wen Fu in writing before she leaves. This is a stubborn act that causes suffering, and, yet, it was also an act that led to bringing Pearl into the world.