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Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter Study Guide & Plot Summary

Adeline Yen Mah
This Study Guide consists of approximately 35 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Chinese Cinderella.
This section contains 507 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter Study Guide

Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter Summary & Study Guide Description

Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah.

Plot Summary

Chinese Cinderella, The True Story of An Unwanted Daughter, is the autobiographical account of Adeline Yen Mah's childhood, covering her life during the ages from four through her early teen years. Four-year-old Adeline proudly showed Aunt Baba the medal she received from the kindergarten teacher for being the best student of the week. Aunt Baba was proud of her little niece and put the certificate that Adele received along with the medal into her lock box, the same place she kept her precious jewels and other valuables. It meant that much to her. Aunt Baba had cared for Adeline since she was two weeks old, when her mother died. Adeline always asked to see pictures of her mother but Aunt Baba had no pictures her. Adeline learned years later that her father had ordered all pictures of her mother destroyed.

A short time following the death of Adeline's mother, her father married a beautiful Eurasian woman named Jean. The children were all instructed to call her Niang, a Chinese term for mother. At seventeen, Niang was nineteen years younger than her new husband but there was nothing shy about the new stepmother. She immediately began establishing harsh rules for her stepchildren. After her own two children came along, things only got worse for Adeline and her four siblings. After they moved into a new house in Shanghai, Niang instructed them that they could only enter and leave the house through the servants' door. The living room was off-limits to them. They all had to share rooms on the hot third floor while Niang, Adeline's father and their two children had bedrooms on the coveted second floor. The stepchildren could only enter the second floor with permission.

Adeline quickly became the main target of Niang's cruelty. Adeline was the top student in her class and was elected its president. Niang told her she was a show off and that she was getting uglier and uglier as she matured. Soon Niang saw to it that Adeline was shipped away to boarding school. During two years at one boarding school, Adeline received no visitors and no mail. Later, she learned that Niang instructed that all of Adeline's incoming and outgoing mail be sent to Niang. She was even left at school during Christmas breaks, the only student in the entire school who was not taken home.

Somehow Niang's abusive behavior and Adeline's father's abandonment of her did not dampen Adeline's drive to learn and excel at school. Her father, who had forgotten her given name and actual date of birth while filling out some documents for a flight she was taking, finally realized what an outstanding person his daughter was and what a great potential she had. When, as a young teenager, Adeline won an international writing competition, he told her that he would be sending her to school at Oxford in England. Aunt Baba told Adeline that she was proud of her and that she would always be precious to her. She affectionately called Adeline her Chinese Cinderella.

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This section contains 507 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter Study Guide
Copyrights
Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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