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MonkeyNotes-The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan
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Chapter 19

Summary

One day in 1945 when both the families of Weili and Hulan are having their breakfast, a pilot bursts into their house shouting, "Itís over! Itís over!" None of them can believe their ears that after so many years of war, the Chinese have finally won. After the American support to the Chinese, the warfare scenario had started changing. But they had to wait until 1945 until their archenemy, the Japanese could be totally defeated.

Now in Kunming there is a mad rush, as everybody wants to leave the place where they have faced so many difficulties and return to their own homes. Weili sees the news of the Chinese success, as a golden opportunity to go back to Shanghai. After a gap of seven years, Weili hopes to see her father and maybe even lead a better life.

On their journey, they meet a soldier. Weili is afraid that he might tell them that the news of Chinese victory, is only a rumor. But to her relief, the soldier is also quite excited like the rest of them and takes their photographs. Hulan and Weili part, midway in their journey. The parting scene, where the two friends offer gifts to each other, is very touching.

At the first glance of her fatherís place she realizes that all is not well at the palatial mansion. Weiliís father, Jiang Sao-yen has become very old and is partially paralyzed because of the stroke that he has suffered. Therefore Weili is not able to tell him about the trauma that she has had to face as Wen Fuís wife. Right from their arrival at the mansion, Wen Fu establishes his supremacy in the house. In a few days time, Wen Fuís family also comes to stay in the house. Now, Wen Fu runs the house, whereas Weiliís father has become totally silent. Weili is taken aback by this change. San Ma, Jiangís third wife tells Weili about the circumstances, that is, the political upheavals that, have lead to her fatherís depravity. Wen Fu takes full advantage of the desperate situation of the Jiang household.


Notes

The news of the defeat of the imperialistic Japanese, is a moment of thrill and astonishment for the Chinese families, including that of Wen Fu and Jiaguo. After so many years of struggle, the Chinese have managed to free their land from the Japanese. Undoubtedly, the intervention of US has really helped the Chinese.

Weili looks forward to a better life in Shanghai, under her fatherís roof. The destination of Wen Fu and Jiaguoís family are different, and they part ways in Wuchang. The friendship between Hulan and Weili had developed into sisterhood and therefore they offer a sentimental farewell to each other. Weili gives her a beautifully embroidered sweater, while Hulan gives her a good pair of knitting needles. Auntie Du had almost become a grandmother to Danru in these years. Weili generously offers her, her much treasured perfume bottle. Auntie Du feels sorry and embarrassed that she has nothing to give Weili in return. Weili however says that the gift that she has given is mainly, Ďso you can remember a foolish woman and her son.í Before they part, both Hulan and Weili make attempts to patch up their misgivings about each other.

All of Weiliís excitement and hope dies out on reaching her fatherís house. Jiang Sao-yen, her father, is no longer a grand- looking man who is always ordering people around. Wen Fu also realizes this and soon takes over the domineering position once held by Jiang Sao-yen. Weiliís aim in coming to her fatherís house had been to tell her father about the miserable life that she has been leading with her arrogant husband. But she discovers that her father is no longer in a position to help her. In fact, he is in dire need of a person to look after him. San Ma, his wife answers Weiliís queries about her fatherís state. Jiang Sao-yen too has been a victim of war, that is, he was terrorized by a Japanese officer who wished to take over his property. Jiang Sao- yen had to pay heavily for his refusal-it had caused him to lose his good name and reputation in Shanghai. Wen Fu takes complete advantage of this situation. He begins selling off the valuable antiques and lavishly spending Jiangís wealth. Weili is unable to curb his activities. In the meanwhile, Weili continues to suffer in her fatherís house, much the same way that she had been suffering in her husbandís house. At least, in Kunming she used to dream about her fatherís prosperity and hope that one day her miseries would end and she will be able to go back to her fatherís house in Shanghai. But now when she is finally back at her fatherís house, her opportunist husband has once again taken control, that is, he has now become the head of the house over Weiliís old and weak-willed father. Therefore Weili has nothing to look forward to.

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