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MonkeyNotes-The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan
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Chapter 20, 21, & 22

Summary

After staying some months at her fatherís place, Weili goes to Tsungming Island to meet her aunts, uncles, and cousins. She is very unsure about how their reaction will be on seeing her after such a long time. She however has to postpone her visit as both she and Danru fall ill with jaundice. She later learns through a letter from Hulanís husband that Hulan too suffered from the same illness. Weili therefore reaches the conclusion that they must have contacted the illness on their journey from Kunming.

In Tsungmig Island, Weili is greeted warmly by her aunts and uncle. Weiliís uncle has become senile due to old age. Weili notices that their living conditions are not the same as before. She learns that, her two cousins, Little Gong and Little Gao, who used to be pampered, are now working hard for their livelihood. Old Aunt and New Aunt inform Weili that Peanutís marriage has failed miserably and that she is now a communist. Her uncle considers Peanut as dead as she has disgraced the family by walking out of her marriage. Her aunts however secretly tell her that she should meet Peanut. They give her Peanutís address but also add that Weili should not meet a communist. Weili stays in the island for two weeks.

After returning to Shanghai, one day she decides to visit Peanut. The address helps her to find the place, which she discovers is a crowded, unclean place in Shanghai itself. On her way, Weili muses through the magazines and wonders how Peanut manages to stay in such a place. As Weili is looking at a magazine she is in for a pleasant surprise - she accidentally meets Jimmy Louie after a gap of five years. Weili notices that Jimmy is still fond of her. He is still working for the US information service. He shows her a photograph of four girls from whom he has to choose a bride. Weili and Jimmy talk about various things, from wars to her present life. She finds that she is very comfortable while talking to him about her misfortunes. Their discussion continues for a very long time and Weili suddenly realizes that it is too late for her to visit Peanut that day. So she decides to come another day.


Weili and Jimmy decide to meet the next day. Weili gets delayed by an hour and a half, and she is convinced that Jimmy must have left after waiting for her for so long. Weili is absolutely thrilled to see him patiently waiting for her. Jimmy is happy that she has at last decided to leave Wen Fu. Weili then, proceeds to Peanutís house and Jimmy decides to wait for her till she comes back. Weili is meeting Peanut after many years and is surprised to find that she is a changed person. She has changed from a heavily decked up teenager to a rebel, a communist. Peanut is excited to meet her cousin whom she calls by the name of Ďtang jie.í In their childhood, Peanut used to lovingly call Weili Ďtang jie,í meaning sugar sister. Peanut tells Weili about her married life and the reason of her becoming a communist. The man she had married was a hermaphrodite, one with both male and female reproductive organs. He was also a homosexual. Peanut asks him for a divorce, which he refuses. Finally, she flees from the house and eventually he divorces her. Weili meets the other women staying with Peanut who are all working. Weili feels that Little Yuís mother who is an elderly woman, is a leader of these women. On leaving Peanutís house, Weili declares to Jimmy that she will escape from Wen Fu along with her son Danru. Her first camping will be with Peanut and then with the help of Jimmy, she will think of the future.

After reaching her fatherís place, Weili reconsiders her decision of leaving the house. She feels that by doing so, she will betray her father who needs her at such a difficult time of his life. But finally she decides to leave for Danru, as well as for her own safety. She tells her father about her decision. Contrary to her expectations, her father offers her three gold ingots, which he had kept hidden for so long. On the pretext of Old Auntís illness, she asks for permission to go to Tsungming Island for the second time. The very next day, she packs her bag in which she carefully places the gold ingots. Suitcase in one hand and Danru in the other, Weili leaves Wen Fu and the Jiang household.

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