The Concubine's Children: Portrait of a Family Divided Summary & Study Guide

Denise Chong
This Study Guide consists of approximately 27 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Concubine's Children.
This section contains 451 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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The Concubine's Children: Portrait of a Family Divided Summary & Study Guide Description

The Concubine's Children: Portrait of a Family Divided 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 The Concubine's Children: Portrait of a Family Divided by Denise Chong.

The story opened with the book's author, Denise Chong, explaining that her grandmother, May-ying, sought out a fortune teller to discover the gender of her unborn child. May-ying was a concubine and had already given birth to two daughters. Her husband had yet to father a son and she wanted to be the one to provide that. Upon learning from the fortune teller that the child was to be a boy, May-ying insisted that her husband take her to Canada. She wanted to give birth there so that her son would have Canadian citizenship. The story then dropped back in time to describe May-ying's life. Her mother sold her as a very young child to the woman she called "Auntie." May-ying was then sold to Chan Sam, a man who lived in Canada, as his concubine. Chan Sam's wife lived in China. When she arrived in Canada, she discovered that she was to work as a waitress to repay the cost of her trip to Canada.

Chan Sam and May-ying had two children, both daughters, and returned to China for a visit. May-ying, who believed her next child was to be a boy, insisted that they return to Canada and agreed to leave the older two girls, Ping and Nan, in China with Chan Sam's wife. May-ying was disappointed when she gave birth to a girl, Hing. Over the course of coming years, the relationship between Chan Sam and May-ying disintegrated and she finally left him. She continued to provide money that he sent to China, using a great deal of it to build an elaborate house for his Chinese family.

May-ying got heavily involved in gambling and drinking, and she had short-term relationships with many men and a longer-term relationship with a gambler named Guen who never dedicated himself to their relationship. Hing virtually raised herself. She was a good student but was ignored by May-ying and often boarded with whoever would take care of her for the least cost. May-ying adopted a son whom she also ignored and left to be cared for by anyone who would take him. This boy's Canadian name was Leonard and his Chinese name was Gok-leng.

Hing eventually left home, married and had five children, including the author of the book, Denise. Denise had an opportunity to return to China and convinced her mother to join her there. They found Ping and a half-brother, Yuen, had lived very difficult lives as well. In this way, Hing realized that the nice house and all the other purchases that were paid for by May-ying were aimed at creating better lives for the Chinese family, but had in actuality created problems for them.

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This section contains 451 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Concubine's Children: Portrait of a Family Divided Study Guide
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