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MonkeyNotes-The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan
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The 1930ís were a period, when not only the soldiers but the citizens of China also had to prepare themselves for the war. The lack of training and machinery had cost a lot of lives. There was no unity among the people and this helped the Japanese to creep into China and try to conquer it. The people were so panic- stricken that they did not know where to go for security.

Weili experiences in her journey from Nanking to Kunming, transforms from the innocent, self-conscious girl that she was in Tsungming Island, to a mature, world-wise lady. During this journey Wen Fu also abstains from showing violence towards Weili. However, Wen Fu, by nature, is a violent man. This is seen when he kills a harmless pig and frightens its master.

Weili and Hulan are close friends not because of their similar attitudes to men and matters, but mainly due to their circumstances of living. Weili has no on except Hulan with whom she can share her problems. Weili expects her to be compassionate and listen sympathetically to her trauma. Instead Hulan is supportive of Wen Fuís excessive passion and sexual drives and she expects Weili to willingly relent to his demands. However, Winnie cannot forget the way in which, Hulan had saved her life during the Ďtaonan.í Winnie tells her daughter Pearl that Hulan does not remember much about the Ďtaonaní episode. This is even though she complains about her finger, which she had damaged on that day while she was trying to get a pedicab for their escape from the market-place. All that she clearly remembers about those days is that, she had relished some very tasty dishes. It seems that Hulanís memory is sharp only when it comes to good food. In spite of the vast difference in the nature of these two women, one notices the extent to which they cooperate with each other during their long journey.


As they approach the village called Heavenís Breath, after facing numerous difficulties on their way, they experience a new lease in life. For the first time the reader glimpses the positive, lively side of Wen Fu. The scenic beauty and the fresh air of the mountain peak have a magical impact on even a man like Wen Fu. He sounds very happy when he says, "This is what it is like to fly. This kind of joy to look down and see the clouds beneath that is the best. Sometimes I dip like this, up and down, into the tops of clouds, then back up into the sunshine, like swimming in waves." Weili is very excited on hearing this kind of response from her husband for the first time and even feels lucky to have him for a husband.

Wen Fu however reverts to his usual behavior after they settle down in their new home. And Weili realizes that she was totally foolish to have even harbored the thought that, her husband has changed. Weiliís days are absolutely hellish, especially after Wen Fuís accident. Even before his accident, Wen fu used to ill- treat her but that would be in privacy. But now, he begins to humiliate her publicly. He slaps her in front of the pilots, who come to visit her and Wen Fu. She is made to kneel down and ask for forgiveness. All the other pilots including Hulan, meekly stand and stare, as none of them have the courage to protect her from his tyranny.

Wen Fuís behavior in general, shows something deeper than mere violence and cruelty. Wen Fu ill-treats his wife and does not even spare his baby daughter. His attitude worsens after the accident in which he barely escapes death. He however loses the use of one eye. Now that he is not very strong physically, he feels very insecure. He does not trust his wife at all and does not leave any opportunity to establish his domination over her. The innocent baby Yiku, who has absolutely no fault, is not spared either. He knows that Weili loves her daughter and therefore deliberately troubles Yiku in order to torture Weili. These behaviors exhibited by Wen Fu reveal some kind of sociopathic problems. Wen Fu is not satisfied with a single woman. Even when he is unable to get up, he assaults the nurses and therefore they are afraid to come near him. Weili has to take care of him. Therefore, he is an utter nuisance to both his wife and to the people around him. Wen Fu should have been grateful to his wife who is supportive throughout his illness and recuperation period, instead he feels that she is adulterous and has eyes on other men. He does not hesitate to show his hatred towards her in front of others. His only wish is that, all the people around him, including his wife, should consider him superior and always be afraid of him. He should have ultimate control over them. In short, their lives should be at his mercy.

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