Part 2, Chapter 1 Summary
Part 2 of The Bonesetter’s Daughter is narrated by LuLing, Ruth’s mother. The story is related through a first-person point of view, as if this section is LuLing’s memoir she wrote and gave to Ruth. In this second part of the novel, LuLing is telling the story of her early life in China before she immigrated to the United States.
This chapter of LuLing’s memoir covers the details of her ancestral home and her family before she was born. Her family’s name is Liu, and they live in a small village in the Western Hills south of Peking. LuLing’s family’s history can be traced back for six centuries, locating them on the same property and for several generations even in the same house. Her family eventually became known for their century-old trade of making ink, a skill that was renown throughout the country.
The family that raises LuLing is led by Liu Jin Sen, the oldest of four sons. Liu Jin Sen was the man LuLing grew up calling Father. However, it was the fourth son, Liu Hu Sen, known as Baby Uncle, that LuLing refers to as her real father. On the day he died, Liu Hu Sen was about to marry the woman LuLing called Precious Auntie, her real mother.
Precious Auntie was born in a town that lay in the foothills. Precious Auntie’s father was a bonesetter. Precious Auntie was the only child of her widowed father, so she was given privileges that were forbidden to most girls of her time. Her father educated her, teaching her not only how to read and write but also how to help him in his medical practice of healing broken bones. Precious Auntie’s family had been bonesetters for nine centuries.
When Precious Auntie was nineteen (by the Chinese calendar), two patients arrived at her father’s door on the same day. One was a man named Chang, a coffin maker. Chang came to their office with a wife and child. The baby had a dislocated shoulder that Precious Auntie suspected had occurred from maltreatment from the baby’s father. She suspected foul play because previously Chang had brought his wife to be helped with a broken jaw. Shortly after Chang’s visit to the bonesetter, the man returned with a marriage proposal; Chang wanted Precious Auntie to become his second wife.
However, on the same day Chang had brought his injured baby, Baby Uncle also appeared at the bonesetter’s door. Baby Uncle was suffering from broken toes; his horse had been startled by a rabbit and stepped on Baby Uncle’s foot. While at the bonesetter’s home, Baby Uncle and Precious Auntie fell immediately in love. Shortly after that initial visit, Baby...
(The entire section is 690 words.)