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MonkeyNotes-The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan
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Pearl and her husband are anxious about her illness, multiple sclerosis. Phil, a pathologist, turns maturer after his wifeís diagnosis and tries his best to maintain a normal atmosphere in the house. Pearl is a speech clinician in a school. Pearl had wished to tell about her condition to her mother but she had her own reasons for keeping it a secret for sometime. Now, that Helen knows about it, Pearl fears that she may reveal it to her mother. At the banquet Helen tells Pearl that she has a brain tumor and that she feels that her days are numbered and therefore, she does not want to die with the burden of a secret in her heart. In fact, Helen threatens Pearl that if she doesnít reveal it to her mother, then she will do it herself. Pearlís reason for not revealing her illness is that her mother may unnecessarily bother about it.

Grand Auntie Duís funeral is conducted in a truly grand way with Helen husbandís Henry videotaping each and every incident, including the tantrums of Pearlís daughters. Apart from the Kwongs and the Louies, some immigrant Chinese women are also present in the funeral. Pearl later learns that they are professional mourners. Pearlís emotional outburst during the funeral service shocks both her and her mother. Winnie promptly recognizes that it is a belated response to the loss of her father, who had died twenty-five years earlier. At that time, Pearl had refused to grieve in spite of repeated pressure and beatings of her mother, as she could not come to terms with the bitter reality.


As her parting gift, Grand Auntie Du offers the strong pungent tea-powder to Winnie. Winnie reminds Pearl that Auntie Du has left a special gift for her. It is like a Chinese dollhouse, which really fascinated Pearl when she was a little girl. It is a typical Chinese altar to the Kitchen God, decorated with gold and red and with godly figures. Winnie relates the story of the Kitchen God to Pearl. He is supposed to be the observer of men, the commander who divides the people, at times irrationally, into good and bad and accordingly gives them good or bad luck. Winnie also mentions the virtuous wife of the Kitchen God. On her return journey back home to San Jose, Pearl thinks about her relationship with her mother.

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MonkeyNotes-The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan
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