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MonkeyNotes-The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan
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After listening to Weiliís story, it dawns on Pearl that Wen Fu might be her father. Pearl is shocked to learn that she may be the result of rape. Her genetics and biological heritage can never be changed and Pearl is unable to decide how to react to this fact. Winnie tries to help her daughter to reconcile with the fact by telling her that the evil Wen Fu is dead and has gone forever. Weili tells her daughter that it does not matter whether she is Wen Fu or Jimmy Louieís daughter, she loves her anyway. Winnie expresses the tender feelings of a mother by saying, "You looked like Mochou. You looked like Yiku. You looked like Danru, Danru especially. All of them together. All the children I could not keep but could never forget."

Encouraged by her motherís honesty, Pearl discloses her illness to Winnie. Winnie is furious and she is so upset that, she attributes the illness to Wen Fu. Winnie tells her daughter that, when as a young girl she used to throw tantrums, she used to wonder whether Pearl gets this terrible temper from Wen Fu. However, later when she saw her son also displaying the same kind of tantrums, she realizes that Pearlís nature was her own nature and not something that she had inherited from Wen Fu. Her earlier children, like Mochou, Yiku and Danru were Wen Fuís children, but their behavior did not show a single trace of Wen Fuís cruelty. Therefore Winnie realizes that environmental influence, especially motherís tender love, is more important in determining the character of a child.

This chapter once again shows the deep friendship between Helen and Winnie. They keep certain facts as secrets from each other but they do so only for the benefit of the other. Towards the end of the novel, Hulan tells Winnie that she had always known that Wen Fu is an evil person and also that Pearl may be his daughter. Helen reassures her friend Winnie by saying, "Because if you thought Wen Fu was born bad, then you might think Pearl was born bad. But now I see this could never be the case. You always hated him. You always loved her. And she is nothing like him."


Till the end, the suspense is sustained and the reader is not sure about the paternity of Pearl. But the reader is certain of one fact, that is, the relationship between mother and daughter has improved a lot. They are two mature individuals who can sympathize with each otherís problems. Winnie is now keen to cure Pearl of her multiple sclerosis.

The analogy that is drawn between The Kitchen Godís Wife and Winnie is significant. Like the Kitchen Godís wife, who does not get any credit for her good deeds while the people thank the husband for his bounteousness, Winnie too is completely overshadowed by her husband. But now she is independent of any evil influence and Winnie gives vent to her feelings by actually burning the Kitchen Godís statue. This symbolizes the fact that she finally purges herself from the dark shadow of Wen Fu and has her long awaited revenge on him.

The last few words "when we laugh, lifting our hopes, higher and higher" are extremely noteworthy. It shows that though Winnie has become old, she is still growing emotionally and has high hopes for herself and her daughter. By naming the porcelain statue as ĎLady Sorrowfree,í Winnie wishes that the life of her daughter should always be lucky, pleasant, comfortable, and free from all the miseries. Her hopes are undying, they only soar higher and higher and wish for peace.

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