The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan

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Part 2, Chapter 4 Summary

When LuLing arrives at the orphanage, she finds that no one is expecting her. No one has made arrangements for her to stay there. The two women who finally greet her are foreigners. LuLing does not understand them at first. Then one of the women speaks Chinese to her, asking her name. LuLing is so stunned by everything that has happened to her so quickly that she is unable to speak. Instead of saying her name, she writes it in Chinese characters. The women are surprised. They have no other child at the orphanage who can read or write. The women decide LuLing can stay and work as a teaching assistant.

Over the course of the next two years, LuLing learns to teach and to help girls younger than she is. She also learns about Christianity. The orphanage is run by Christian missionaries. She explores their religious beliefs and attempts to incorporate them with the Buddhist doctrines with which she was raised. At one point, when the missionaries decide to rid the ancient monastery (in which the orphanage is housed) of all the Buddhist relics, LuLing finds a way inside of her to appeal to the Buddhist and Taoist statues and ask their forgiveness for painting Christian symbols over them.

Also housed in the monastery is a group of scientists, both foreign and Chinese. These are the men who continue to search the area for the ancient bones of what they refer to as the Peking Man. Precious Auntie had told LuLing that the bones the scientists are uncovering did not belong to just one man, as the name implies, but rather to many men, women, and even children. The fragments of bone are so small that the scientists cannot distinguish them from one another. Precious Auntie, having learned from her father and by using her intuitive sensitivity, knew the...

(The entire section is 474 words.)