The Bonesetter's Daughter Part 2, Chapter 4 Summary

Amy Tan

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 difference. However, LuLing does not divulge this information to the scientists because she does not want to be criticized for being haughty.

LuLing was not so fearful of presenting herself through her skills with calligraphy, though. Again, Precious Auntie had taught her well. One of LuLing’s instructors, Teacher Pan, tells LuLing that she is the best calligrapher he has ever seen. She is even better than Teacher Pan’s son, Kai Jing. LuLing learns that Kai Jing, who is a geologist and works with the other scientists looking for bones, had been stricken with polio when he was a child. Because of this, one of his arms and one of his legs are weak. He limps when he walks, but otherwise Kai Jing is very handsome. One day, Kai Jing helps LuLing with a banner she is making. LuLing thinks Kai Jing’s calligraphy is beautiful. As they walk to the market together to take the banner to town, Kai Jing kisses her.