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by Laurence Yep

Dragonwings Chapter 10 Summary

Aroused (April-May, 1906)

  • Moon Shadow marvels at the loads of rich people on the streets looking just as tattered and scared as poor folk.
  • Lefty warns Moon Shadow and Windrider to watch out for soldiers, saying that they'll shoot anyone, whether or not they are looting. Lefty says that the soldiers often are the ones looting.
  • When Windrider claims that the demon soldiers were kind to them, Lefty reminds him that they were with a demoness (Miss Whitlaw) before, but without demon friends with them, they would be treated differently.
  • The three men hide from a troop of soldiers passing by. Moon Shadow sees that they are drunk and weighed down with stolen objects.
  • Lefty, Moon Shadow and Windrider arrive in the Tang people's village and find the Company's building still standing. They thank the good feng shui of the building (the words for wind and water that gauge how happy the universe is with the layout) for that.
  • A pistol-clad Uncle offers them wine upon arrival. Hand Clap and White Deer are in the park, making sure their wine collection is safe.
  • Uncle explains that most of the Company's possessions have been taken to Oakland, a city across the San Francisco Bay, on a friend's boat.
  • Lefty, Moon Shadow and Windrider pack up the wagon. Hand Clap returns with Red Rabbit, who is moving fast for once.
  • They hear cannons. Lefty and Hand Clap explain that people are blasting houses to clear the way from catching fire.
  • Suddenly there's a huge explosion, and Uncle curses the demons for using too much dynamite. We learn that Uncle Bright Star worked on what would come to be known as the Transcontinental Railroad (10.25).
  • The explosions have brought fire to the wooden buildings in the Tang people's village. They sense that the Company building will be burned to the ground before long.
  • Uncle stubbornly insists on staying with the building. The rest of the men vow to stay with him. This is exactly what it takes to get Uncle to change his mind. To save the lives of his best friends, he must save his own.
  • The crew load Uncle's throne onto the wagon. Uncle looks in pain and sorrow at the building for the last time.
  • The men arrive at Golden Gate Park again, where soldiers have set up a system of bread distribution, latrines, and cooking fires. Moon Shadow notes that some demons are good.
  • The crew goes to a luxurious purple tent in the area where most Tang people have set up camp. Uncle asked for the fancy purple fabric to be used for the tent.
  • Hand Clap lines up for bread for the group. Father, Lefty, and Moon Shadow unload the wagon. White Deer starts a fire.
  • Windrider asks Uncle for permission to invite guests to their dinner. Uncle agrees in his snide but deep-hearted kind of way.
  • Moon Shadow and Windrider go find Miss Whitlaw and Robin. They help them set up their tent.
  • Miss Whitlaw has saved food for Moon Shadow and Windrider. Instead of accepting, Windrider invites the two ladies to dinner with the Company. Windrider insists on watching the Whitlaws' camping ground while the other three return to the Company. This way, Miss Whitlaw doesn't have to selflessly skip out; Windrider does instead.
  • Miss Whitlaw and Robin talk about how the tents remind them of going to the circus. But then the three of them see the city from afar, ablaze with ongoing fires and covered in ash.
  • Miss Whitlaw gives the Company plum brandy that she has made from her father's recipe. Uncle accepts the present and heartily enjoys its fragrant drink.
  • Uncle invites Miss Whitlaw to sit in his throne for dinner. Whoa, we know. Then Miss Whitlaw impresses them all by asking to use chopsticks.
  • White Deer's spread is completely delicious (10.64). They finish the meal with brandy and the singing of songs, reciting of poems, and acting out of stories about Monkey.
  • Three days later, word comes that the firefighters are succeeding in taming the flames. It begins to rain and the tent gets kind of sad and wet. This makes the Company men nervous since Uncle is super-cranky when it rains. Plus, if he catches the cold, it's just bad news for everyone. Remember that this man is in his eighties at the turn of the twentieth century!
  • Windrider cleverly asks Uncle to go with him to deliver apples to the Whitlaws. The Company encourages him, and he agrees.
  • Miss Whitlaw thanks them for the apples and invites Uncle to sit in one of her nicer chairs. Miss Whitlaw and Uncle bond over a conversation about working on the railroad. (Miss Whitlaw's cousin worked on the railroad, too, starting from the east instead of the west like Uncle.) Miss Whitlaw asks Uncle about the Middle Kingdom, too. Uncle digs Miss Whitlaw by the end of it.
  • Three days later, while Moon Shadow and Windrider are visiting the Whitlaws, soldiers come and demand the "Chinamen" leave (10.87). Miss Whitlaw stands up for her guests, but the soldiers insist and Windrider doesn't want to get Miss Whitlaw in trouble.
  • The soldiers gather all the Tang people and march them around San Francisco. Small portions of bread and water are reluctantly handed out to the Tang people.
  • The Company isn't given enough food to share some with Red Rabbit, so Hand Clap goes with him to the south. Uncle's having a rough time but stays in order to help lead.
  • Throughout the tiring days-long parade, the numbers of Tang people dwindle from 25,000 to a couple hundred. Many, disgusted by their treatment, have left the San Francisco area. Moon Shadow explains that the few hundred left were the "stubbornest, orneriest individuals, who were getting tired of being pushed around" (10.103).
  • They return to Golden Gate Park and pitch their sad-looking purple tent. Windrider is pissed off that the Tang people are being so mistreated by the authorities and wants to do something about it.
  • Uncle returns from speaking with the other leaders of the community. They have decided to demand the right to return to the Tang people's region. If the demon authorities continue to resist, then the Tang people will leave the area and the demons will have to do without the Tang people's businesses and money.
  • The plan works and the Tang people get the same right as the demons to rebuild on their old land.
  • The Tang community comes together and people from all over contribute their building skills and money to fix up the Tang people's town.
  • Moon Shadow is happy to be part of this community project. He senses that Windrider is less invested, however.
  • Moon Shadow and Windrider go to wish the Whitlaws well before they leave for Oakland. Miss Whitlaw has found a job as a housekeeper for a demon household.
  • On the walk over, Windrider tells Moon Shadow that he wants the freedom that comes from flying. He is determined to make the dream of flying a reality, saying that they could make a living by selling tickets for flying shows.
  • Moon Shadow is saddened, feeling like he's losing both the Whitlaws and his own father.
  • They arrive at the Whitlaws camping grounds. Robin gives Moon Shadow her copy of "The Phoenix and the Carpet" by E. Nesbit. Moon Shadow only has Uncle's carving of Monkey to give to her.
  • The four of them go down to the Ferry Building together.
  • Miss Whitlaw encourages Windrider to pursue flying. Both she and Robin give Moon Shadow a kiss on the cheek. Not to spoil it for you, but this is maybe the sexiest part of the book.
  • That night, Windrider, Moon Shadow and Uncle sit together to have a serious talk. Windrider tells Uncle that he must pursue his dream.
  • Uncle is outraged, telling Windrider that he and his family will starve. Windrider replies, "It's time I thought of myself" (10.170). It's kind of a shocking statement, considering how tight the Company is.
  • Uncle one-ups Windrider. It looks like the discussion is over and Windrider has lost. But then, Moon Shadow speaks up: "I want to fly too, Father" (10.174).
  • Moon Shadow says that the flying dream will work if both he and Windrider get jobs. He promises to support him and decides to go with him.
  • Uncle Bright Star is furious. He orders Windrider and Moon Shadow to get away from him. Yep poignantly describes this heart-wrenching moment by writing: "Get away from me" (10.189).
  • Moon Shadow is sad that he and his father's relationship with Uncle went down the toilet, but he feels proud to be his dad's son.

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