History Main / TheKitchenGodsWife

13th Sep '13 6:59:32 AM Synchronicity
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''The Kitchen Gods Wife'' is a novel by Creator/AmyTan, and, like most of her works, is a novel about Chinese-American women female identity. The first few chapters follow Pearl Brandt, a Chinese-American in San Jose, California, as she describes her "family" - her American husband and two daughters, her mother Winnie, her overbearing Aunt Helen (who is supposedly Winnie's sister-in-law or ''something''; she and Winnie have kept each other's secrets for a ''long'' time), and the rest of Helen's family as they prepare for, first, the nth engagement party of Pearl's obnoxious cousin Bao-bao, and then the burial of her Great Aunt Du. Pearl and her family see these obligations as a chore, presumably because Pearl herself is immersed in her American identity. They go anyway, and it's revealed that Pearl has multiple sclerosis (something she has told Helen, but not her own mother). Helen tells her she has a brain tumor and that she refuses to die without Winnie knowing about Pearl's sickness. Meanwhile, Helen also tells Winnie that she must tell her estranged daughter her own DarkAndTroubledPast herself, or Helen will tell her herself. At that point, the narrative switches to Winnie's point of view as she details her life to Pearl - her time as a daughter of a wealthy man's lesser wife, how she was sent to her uncle after her mother's disappearance, and the story of how she tried to survive both her first terrible marriage and WorldWarII. ---- !!Tropes: * AffablyEvil: Wen Fu, at first. Then he just becomes evil. * ArrangedMarriage: Winnie and Wen Fu. * TheAtoner: Jiaguo, Helen's first husband, marries her because [[spoiler: he feels he has to atone for her sister's DeathByChildbirth, which was partly his fault - it was his child and he refused to acknowledge so.]] * AudienceSurrogate: Pearl. * AxCrazy: Wen Fu, emphasized when [[spoiler: he threatens the hospital staff with manslaughter while Winnie is recovering from giving birth to their second child.]] * TheBeard: [[spoiler: The wealthy man Peanut is married off to is heavily implied to be homosexual. She leaves him, however, because she thinks he's a hermaphrodite.]] * BelievingTheirOwnLies: Helen is portrayed as this. * BreakTheCutie: ''Winnie''. * BrattyTeenageDaughter: Mary's daughter. * BrokenBird: Certainly Winnie at the end of her marriage to Wen Fu, although she gets better. * CardCarryingVillain: Wen Fu. * CelebrityResemblance: The telegraph girl is called "Wan Betty" ("Beautiful Betty") due to her resemblance to Bette Davis. * UsefulNotes/ChineseFuneraryCustoms: Appear at the beginning of the book at Auntie Du's funeral. Lampshaded by Winnie and Pearl. * {{Confucianism}}: Slammed by Winnie, because according to her Confucianism emphasized looking down on other people, especially women. * CrashIntoHello: Winnie and Jimmy. * DarkAndTroubledPast: Winnie. Helen, to a lesser extent. * DeathByChildbirth: Helen's sister. * DeliberateValuesDissonance: Women are expected to "[[StayInTheKitchen know their place]]," and [[SpiritedYoungLady spirited young ladies]] are looked down on, as this was pre-WWII China. * DirtyCoward: Wen Fu, who comes out of war unscathed thanks to not actually doing any fighting - every time they're involved in a battle, Wen Fu flies off and tells the captain he was "trailing a Japanese plane." * DomesticAbuser: Wen Fu to Winnie. * DrivenToSuicide: "Little Yu," an old classmate of Winnie and Peanut's, after she got stuck in an unhappy marriage. * DyingAsYourself: [[spoiler: Winnie's father]]. * ExtremeDoormat: Winnie. * EyeScream: [[spoiler: Wen Fu loses an eye in a jeepney accident.]] * {{Flashback}}: How Winnie tells Pearl her story. * ForegoneConclusion: Winnie makes it out of the war alive, ditches Wen Fu and marries Jimmy. * FourthDateMarriage: Wen Fu and Winnie, whom she'd known for only a few months before they get married. Also played with with Jimmy and Winnie, they go on all of two dates (excluding the dance at which they met) before they decide they're perfect for each other. It's a while before they marry, though. * FramingDevice: Winnie tells Pearl her life story. * GoldDigger: Wen Fu courts Peanut first, but drops her for Winnie once he learns of Winnie's father's wealth. * GladIThoughtOfIt: Winnie excessively thanks Henry for using his government connections to [[spoiler: get her out of jail. In truth, it was all Auntie Du's doing and she just didn't want to disappoint Helen.]] * HeterosexualLifePartners: Winnie and Helen, who have put up with each other for so long that each others' faults barely affect them anymore. * HorribleJudgeOfCharacter: Winnie berates herself for believing Wen Fu was a decent human being. * HotMom: Winnie and her mother in their respective heydays. * ItsAllAboutMe: Wen Fu. * KarmaHoudini: The only comeuppance Wen Fu gets for all his wrongdoings is [[spoiler: a box full of donkey dung and humiliation in front of Winnie and Helen. He even dies on Christmas Day.]] * KickTheDog: [[spoiler: Wen Fu hits Yiku when Winnie threatens to leave.]] * LockedOutOfTheLoop: The only person who doesn't know about Pearl's multiple sclerosis is her own mother Winnie (seeing as Pearl told Auntie Helen, who then told the whole Kwong family). * LoveAtFirstSight: Jimmy for Winnie. ** '''Jimmy''': "I fell in love with her right from the beginning. As for Winnie—she only fell. But what matters is I caught her." * LukeIAmYourFather: [[spoiler: Wen Fu is Pearl's father, not Jimmy.]] * ManipulativeBastard: Wen Fu, exemplified when he manages to [[spoiler: obtain control of Winnie's father's estate by telling Winnie's dad that he can get him out of trouble with the Kuomintang.]] * MaritalRapeLicense: [[spoiler: Wen Fu after the accident - he "punishes" Winnie for every single damn thing she does that he deems "wrong," and it's not portrayed positively at all.]] * MatchmakerCrush: Winnie develops a crush on Wen Fu while being the go-between for him and Peanut. * MeaningfulName: Out of pride, Wen Fu wants Jimmy to name him after someone who changed history forever. [[spoiler: Jimmy names him Judas.]] * MightyWhitey: Slightly played with. Jimmy is explicitly stated to be Chinese (he acts as a translator and a serviceman), but he's American-born and Winnie falls for him. * MilesGloriosus: Wen Fu. * MissingMom: Even in adulthood, Winnie does not fully understand her mother's disappearance. Her aunts' and uncle's disappearance theories don't help much. It's implied that she abandoned Winnie, though. * ObfuscatingStupidity: [[spoiler:Helen knew for a long time that Pearl was Wen Fu's biological daughter. Her making excuses for Wen Fu's awful behavior was her way of trying to keep Winnie from resenting Pearl. The moment she learns that Winnie and Pearl have achieved some common ground, she ditches the act and curses Wen Fu's memory.]] * ObnoxiousInLaws: Phil sees Pearl's family as this. He's not that far from the truth. * OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: Several minor characters - Betty, Old Aunt, New Aunt, Wu Ma, etcetera. ** NoNameGiven * ParentalAbandonment: It's implied that Winnie's mother abandoned her. * PluckyGirl: Nearly all the major female characters. * PoorCommunicationKills: The reason Pearl and Winnie's relationship is so strained. * RapePillageAndBurn: The Japanese, which was sadly TruthInTelevision. * RapunzelHair: Winnie's mother. * RichesToRags: [[spoiler: Winnie's father and his family after the war - moreso after Wen Fu is done with their finances.]] * SexlessMarriage: [[spoiler: Helen and Jiaguo's.]] * SpoiledBrat: Peanut, but she fixes herself up in adulthood. Wen Fu, on the other hand... * StartOfDarkness: Wen Fu starts being pissy around the time of the accident, and it just gets worse from there. * SupremeChef: Winnie. * TitleDrop: The "Kitchen God" was a man who took his hardworking wife for granted, and, when his mistress drove her away, did not do anything to help her. Once she leaves, his fortune (that accumulated thanks to her diligence) dwindles, and he realizes how much better off he was with her, despite all the suffering she went through thanks to him. Winnie subsequently relates her life story to her. * TheUnfavourite: Winnie, so much. After her mother disappeared, she was the unfavourite in her wealthy father's household until she was sent to live with her uncle and his two wives. And they ''still'' treated her cousin Peanut better. * WartimeWedding: Winnie and Wen Fu get married just before World War II breaks out. * WhatCouldHaveBeen: Winnie often wonders what life would have been like if she did not marry Wen Fu. * WorldWarII * YouNoTakeCandle: Winnie to some extent. ----
to:
''The Kitchen Gods Wife'' is a novel by Creator/AmyTan, and, like most of her works, is a novel about Chinese-American women female identity. The first few chapters follow Pearl Brandt, a Chinese-American in San Jose, California, as she describes her "family" - her American husband and two daughters, her mother Winnie, her overbearing Aunt Helen (who is supposedly Winnie's sister-in-law or ''something''; she and Winnie have kept each other's secrets for a ''long'' time), and the rest of Helen's family as they prepare for, first, the nth engagement party of Pearl's obnoxious cousin Bao-bao, and then the burial of her Great Aunt Du. Pearl and her family see these obligations as a chore, presumably because Pearl herself is immersed in her American identity. They go anyway, and it's revealed that Pearl has multiple sclerosis (something she has told Helen, but not her own mother). Helen tells her she has a brain tumor and that she refuses to die without Winnie knowing about Pearl's sickness. Meanwhile, Helen also tells Winnie that she must tell her estranged daughter her own DarkAndTroubledPast herself, or Helen will tell her herself. At that point, the narrative switches to Winnie's point of view as she details her life to Pearl - her time as a daughter of a wealthy man's lesser wife, how she was sent to her uncle after her mother's disappearance, and the story of how she tried to survive both her first terrible marriage and WorldWarII. ---- !!Tropes: * AffablyEvil: Wen Fu, at first. Then he just becomes evil. * ArrangedMarriage: Winnie and Wen Fu. * TheAtoner: Jiaguo, Helen's first husband, marries her because [[spoiler: he feels he has to atone for her sister's DeathByChildbirth, which was partly his fault - it was his child and he refused to acknowledge so.]] * AudienceSurrogate: Pearl. * AxCrazy: Wen Fu, emphasized when [[spoiler: he threatens the hospital staff with manslaughter while Winnie is recovering from giving birth to their second child.]] * TheBeard: [[spoiler: The wealthy man Peanut is married off to is heavily implied to be homosexual. She leaves him, however, because she thinks he's a hermaphrodite.]] * BelievingTheirOwnLies: Helen is portrayed as this. * BreakTheCutie: ''Winnie''. * BrattyTeenageDaughter: Mary's daughter. * BrokenBird: Certainly Winnie at the end of her marriage to Wen Fu, although she gets better. * CardCarryingVillain: Wen Fu. * CelebrityResemblance: The telegraph girl is called "Wan Betty" ("Beautiful Betty") due to her resemblance to Bette Davis. * UsefulNotes/ChineseFuneraryCustoms: Appear at the beginning of the book at Auntie Du's funeral. Lampshaded by Winnie and Pearl. * {{Confucianism}}: Slammed by Winnie, because according to her Confucianism emphasized looking down on other people, especially women. * CrashIntoHello: Winnie and Jimmy. * DarkAndTroubledPast: Winnie. Helen, to a lesser extent. * DeathByChildbirth: Helen's sister. * DeliberateValuesDissonance: Women are expected to "[[StayInTheKitchen know their place]]," and [[SpiritedYoungLady spirited young ladies]] are looked down on, as this was pre-WWII China. * DirtyCoward: Wen Fu, who comes out of war unscathed thanks to not actually doing any fighting - every time they're involved in a battle, Wen Fu flies off and tells the captain he was "trailing a Japanese plane." * DomesticAbuser: Wen Fu to Winnie. * DrivenToSuicide: "Little Yu," an old classmate of Winnie and Peanut's, after she got stuck in an unhappy marriage. * DyingAsYourself: [[spoiler: Winnie's father]]. * ExtremeDoormat: Winnie. * EyeScream: [[spoiler: Wen Fu loses an eye in a jeepney accident.]] * {{Flashback}}: How Winnie tells Pearl her story. * ForegoneConclusion: Winnie makes it out of the war alive, ditches Wen Fu and marries Jimmy. * FourthDateMarriage: Wen Fu and Winnie, whom she'd known for only a few months before they get married. Also played with with Jimmy and Winnie, they go on all of two dates (excluding the dance at which they met) before they decide they're perfect for each other. It's a while before they marry, though. * FramingDevice: Winnie tells Pearl her life story. * GoldDigger: Wen Fu courts Peanut first, but drops her for Winnie once he learns of Winnie's father's wealth. * GladIThoughtOfIt: Winnie excessively thanks Henry for using his government connections to [[spoiler: get her out of jail. In truth, it was all Auntie Du's doing and she just didn't want to disappoint Helen.]] * HeterosexualLifePartners: Winnie and Helen, who have put up with each other for so long that each others' faults barely affect them anymore. * HorribleJudgeOfCharacter: Winnie berates herself for believing Wen Fu was a decent human being. * HotMom: Winnie and her mother in their respective heydays. * ItsAllAboutMe: Wen Fu. * KarmaHoudini: The only comeuppance Wen Fu gets for all his wrongdoings is [[spoiler: a box full of donkey dung and humiliation in front of Winnie and Helen. He even dies on Christmas Day.]] * KickTheDog: [[spoiler: Wen Fu hits Yiku when Winnie threatens to leave.]] * LockedOutOfTheLoop: The only person who doesn't know about Pearl's multiple sclerosis is her own mother Winnie (seeing as Pearl told Auntie Helen, who then told the whole Kwong family). * LoveAtFirstSight: Jimmy for Winnie. ** '''Jimmy''': "I fell in love with her right from the beginning. As for Winnie—she only fell. But what matters is I caught her." * LukeIAmYourFather: [[spoiler: Wen Fu is Pearl's father, not Jimmy.]] * ManipulativeBastard: Wen Fu, exemplified when he manages to [[spoiler: obtain control of Winnie's father's estate by telling Winnie's dad that he can get him out of trouble with the Kuomintang.]] * MaritalRapeLicense: [[spoiler: Wen Fu after the accident - he "punishes" Winnie for every single damn thing she does that he deems "wrong," and it's not portrayed positively at all.]] * MatchmakerCrush: Winnie develops a crush on Wen Fu while being the go-between for him and Peanut. * MeaningfulName: Out of pride, Wen Fu wants Jimmy to name him after someone who changed history forever. [[spoiler: Jimmy names him Judas.]] * MightyWhitey: Slightly played with. Jimmy is explicitly stated to be Chinese (he acts as a translator and a serviceman), but he's American-born and Winnie falls for him. * MilesGloriosus: Wen Fu. * MissingMom: Even in adulthood, Winnie does not fully understand her mother's disappearance. Her aunts' and uncle's disappearance theories don't help much. It's implied that she abandoned Winnie, though. * ObfuscatingStupidity: [[spoiler:Helen knew for a long time that Pearl was Wen Fu's biological daughter. Her making excuses for Wen Fu's awful behavior was her way of trying to keep Winnie from resenting Pearl. The moment she learns that Winnie and Pearl have achieved some common ground, she ditches the act and curses Wen Fu's memory.]] * ObnoxiousInLaws: Phil sees Pearl's family as this. He's not that far from the truth. * OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: Several minor characters - Betty, Old Aunt, New Aunt, Wu Ma, etcetera. ** NoNameGiven * ParentalAbandonment: It's implied that Winnie's mother abandoned her. * PluckyGirl: Nearly all the major female characters. * PoorCommunicationKills: The reason Pearl and Winnie's relationship is so strained. * RapePillageAndBurn: The Japanese, which was sadly TruthInTelevision. * RapunzelHair: Winnie's mother. * RichesToRags: [[spoiler: Winnie's father and his family after the war - moreso after Wen Fu is done with their finances.]] * SexlessMarriage: [[spoiler: Helen and Jiaguo's.]] * SpoiledBrat: Peanut, but she fixes herself up in adulthood. Wen Fu, on the other hand... * StartOfDarkness: Wen Fu starts being pissy around the time of the accident, and it just gets worse from there. * SupremeChef: Winnie. * TitleDrop: The "Kitchen God" was a man who took his hardworking wife for granted, and, when his mistress drove her away, did not do anything to help her. Once she leaves, his fortune (that accumulated thanks to her diligence) dwindles, and he realizes how much better off he was with her, despite all the suffering she went through thanks to him. Winnie subsequently relates her life story to her. * TheUnfavourite: Winnie, so much. After her mother disappeared, she was the unfavourite in her wealthy father's household until she was sent to live with her uncle and his two wives. And they ''still'' treated her cousin Peanut better. * WartimeWedding: Winnie and Wen Fu get married just before World War II breaks out. * WhatCouldHaveBeen: Winnie often wonders what life would have been like if she did not marry Wen Fu. * WorldWarII * YouNoTakeCandle: Winnie to some extent. ----[[redirect:Literature/TheKitchenGodsWife]]
25th Aug '13 11:44:21 AM Helcat13
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-> '''Jimmy''': "I fell in love with her right from the beginning. As for Winnie—she only fell. But what matters is I caught her."
to:
-> '''Jimmy''': **'''Jimmy''': "I fell in love with her right from the beginning. As for Winnie—she only fell. But what matters is I caught her."
6th Apr '13 10:17:02 AM SeptimusHeap
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Asian Gal With White Guy was renamed to Mighty Whitey And Mellow Yellow. Misuse and Zero Context Examples are being deleted.
* AsianGalWithWhiteGuy: Pearl and Phil. Inverted with her cousin Roger/Bao-bao - past wives of his have been mentioned to be white.
6th Mar '13 7:49:16 PM M84
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* MissingMom: Even in adulthood, Winnie does not fully understand her mother's disappearance. Her aunts' and uncle's disappearance theories don't help much. It's implied that she abandoned Winnie, though.
to:
* MissingMom: Even in adulthood, Winnie does not fully understand her mother's disappearance. Her aunts' and uncle's disappearance theories don't help much. It's implied that she abandoned Winnie, though. though. * ObfuscatingStupidity: [[spoiler:Helen knew for a long time that Pearl was Wen Fu's biological daughter. Her making excuses for Wen Fu's awful behavior was her way of trying to keep Winnie from resenting Pearl. The moment she learns that Winnie and Pearl have achieved some common ground, she ditches the act and curses Wen Fu's memory.]]
29th Jan '13 4:38:28 AM SeptimusHeap
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15th Jul '12 11:28:45 AM LordGro
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''The Kitchen Gods Wife'' is a novel by AmyTan, and, like most of her works, is a novel about Chinese-American women female identity.
to:
''The Kitchen Gods Wife'' is a novel by AmyTan, Creator/AmyTan, and, like most of her works, is a novel about Chinese-American women female identity.


* YouNoTakeCandle: Winnie to some extent.
to:
* YouNoTakeCandle: Winnie to some extent.extent. ----
17th Feb '12 6:44:08 PM Lullabee
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* DeliberateValuesDissonance: Women are expected to "[[StayInTheKitchen know their place]]," and [[SpiritedYoungLady spirited young ladies]] are looked down on, as this was pre-WWII China.

* TheUnfairSex: Women are expected to "[[StayInTheKitchen know their place]]," and [[SpiritedYoungLady spirited young ladies]] are looked down on. Justified, as this was pre-WWII China.
18th Dec '11 10:59:44 PM Synchronicity
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* AsianGalWithWhiteGuy: Pearl and Phil.
to:
* AsianGalWithWhiteGuy: Pearl and Phil. Inverted with her cousin Roger/Bao-bao - past wives of his have been mentioned to be white.

* AsianGalWithWhiteGuy: Pearl CrashIntoHello: Winnie and Phil.Jimmy.

* AsianGalWithWhiteGuy: Pearl and Phil.DyingAsYourself: [[spoiler: Winnie's father]].

* AsianGalWithWhiteGuy: Pearl ForegoneConclusion: Winnie makes it out of the war alive, ditches Wen Fu and Phil.marries Jimmy. * FourthDateMarriage: Wen Fu and Winnie, whom she'd known for only a few months before they get married. Also played with with Jimmy and Winnie, they go on all of two dates (excluding the dance at which they met) before they decide they're perfect for each other. It's a while before they marry, though.

* AsianGalWithWhiteGuy: Pearl GladIThoughtOfIt: Winnie excessively thanks Henry for using his government connections to [[spoiler: get her out of jail. In truth, it was all Auntie Du's doing and Phil. she just didn't want to disappoint Helen.]]

* AsianGalWithWhiteGuy: LockedOutOfTheLoop: The only person who doesn't know about Pearl's multiple sclerosis is her own mother Winnie (seeing as Pearl and Phil.told Auntie Helen, who then told the whole Kwong family).

* AsianGalWithWhiteGuy: Pearl and Phil. -> '''Jimmy''': "I fell in love with her right from the beginning. As for Winnie—she only fell. But what matters is I caught her."

* AsianGalWithWhiteGuy: Pearl and Phil. MeaningfulName: Out of pride, Wen Fu wants Jimmy to name him after someone who changed history forever. [[spoiler: Jimmy names him Judas.]]

* AsianGalWithWhiteGuy: Pearl RichesToRags: [[spoiler: Winnie's father and Phil. his family after the war - moreso after Wen Fu is done with their finances.]]

* {{Yangire}}: Wen Fu.
to:
* {{Yangire}}: Wen Fu.Fu. * YouNoTakeCandle: Winnie to some extent.
15th Dec '11 5:41:38 AM Synchronicity
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* CardCarryingVillain: Wen Fu.

* GoldDigger: Wen Fu courts Peanut first, but drops her for Wen Fu once he learns of Winnie's father's wealth.
to:
* GoldDigger: Wen Fu courts Peanut first, but drops her for Wen Fu Winnie once he learns of Winnie's father's wealth.

Added DiffLines:
* GoldDigger: Wen Fu courts Peanut first, but drops her for Wen Fu once he learns of Winnie's father's wealth.RapePillageAndBurn: The Japanese, which was sadly TruthInTelevision.
14th Dec '11 1:33:32 AM Synchronicity
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* BelievingTheirOwnLies: Helen is portrayed as this.

* BrattyTeenageDaughter: Mary's daughter.

* UsefulNotes/ChineseFuneraryCustoms: Appear at the beginning of the book at Auntie Du's funeral. Lampshaded by Winnie and Pearl. * {{Confucianism}}: Slammed by Winnie, because according to her Confucianism emphasized looking down on other people, especially women.

* DirtyCoward: Wen Fu, who comes out of war unscathed thanks to not actually doing any fighting - every time they're involved in a battle, Wen Fu flies off and tells the captain he was "trailing a Japanese plane."

* HorribleJudgeOfCharacter: Winnie berates herself for believing Wen Fu was a decent human being. * HotMom: Winnie and her mother in their respective heydays. * ItsAllAboutMe: Wen Fu.

* KickTheDog: [[spoiler: Wen Fu hits Yiku when Winnie threatens to leave.]]

* ManipulativeBastard: Wen Fu, exemplified when he manages to [[spoiler: obtain control of Winnie's father's estate by telling Winnie's dad that he can get him out of trouble with the Kuomintang.]]

* MilesGloriosus: Wen Fu. * MissingMom: Even in adulthood, Winnie does not fully understand her mother's disappearance. Her aunts' and uncle's disappearance theories don't help much. It's implied that she abandoned Winnie, though.

* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: Several minor characters - Betty, Old Aunt, New Aunt, Wu Ma, etcetera. ** NoNameGiven

* RapunzelHair: Winnie's mother. * SexlessMarriage: [[spoiler: Helen and Jiaguo's.]]

* TheUnfairSex: Women are expected to "know their place," and [[SpiritedYoungLady spirited young ladies]] are looked down on. Justified, as this was pre-WWII China.
to:
* TitleDrop: The "Kitchen God" was a man who took his hardworking wife for granted, and, when his mistress drove her away, did not do anything to help her. Once she leaves, his fortune (that accumulated thanks to her diligence) dwindles, and he realizes how much better off he was with her, despite all the suffering she went through thanks to him. Winnie subsequently relates her life story to her. * TheUnfairSex: Women are expected to "know "[[StayInTheKitchen know their place," place]]," and [[SpiritedYoungLady spirited young ladies]] are looked down on. Justified, as this was pre-WWII China.
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