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Chapter 32

After the soldiers are gone, the family attempts to remove any trace of their presence by repairing the furniture, re-filling the pools, and re-planting the trees so that soon, the home is as it is again. The slave who had bedded the cousin gives birth to a girl, which relieves Wang, and she is told to care for the uncle's wife until she dies. She also asks that Wang find her a husband and Wang is struck by the thought that he was once a poor man who is promised to a poor woman in the same manner. On the day of the aunt's death, Wang tells her he has chosen the laborer who caused Ching's death, if he will have her. The lad comes from the fields and is grateful for the match.
Wang hopes now for peace, but there is still bickering. The wives of his sons continue to argue about the smallest things, insult each other's children, and aggravate the resentment between the brothers.
Wang also has his own troubles with Lotus, who accuses him of coveting Pear Blossom since the incident with his cousin. Wang, who had no feelings for the young girl until Lotus brings up the possibility, sees that indeed Pear Blossom is very pretty, and only then begins to desire her. He tries to contest Lotus' accusation, but he is very stirred by the sight of Pear Blossom. Lotus wants to sell her to the tea house, but she is reluctant to part with her since she is a good servant. Wang stays away from Lotus until she calms down, but he continues to think about the young girl.
Wang's troubles stretch to encompass his youngest son, who one day tells Wang that he wishes to go south and fight in the war. He had lived among the soldiers when they stayed at the house and listened to great stories of their lives, and he was inspired. Wang is aghast at this news and forbids it. The boy is adamant, saying that he is eager to be a part of the impending revolution in the country that he has heard about. Wang cannot understand his motivations, and he tries to appease the boy with the promise of marriage for him. Wang is mistaken since his son is even angrier at the suggestion, so Wang tries to offer him the company of one of their many slaves. The boy erupts at the thought, saying that all the slaves are ugly, except Pear Blossom. The mention of the young girl's name, and more importantly the implication that his son has feelings towards her, now angers Wang who then berates his son for thinking like a young lord who has his way with the slaves. Wang is confused at all his anger, but the only thing he sees clearly is how upset he is with his son and his opinion of Pear Blossom.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Chapter 1
Chapter 2 and 3
Chapter 4 and 5
Chapter 6 and 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10 and 11
Chapter 12 and 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33
Chapter 34


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