Study Guide

Crazy Rich Asians Jealousy

By Kevin Kwan


Eddie stared at the mirror in amazement. "Oh, I've seen that before," he said rather unconvincingly as the envy began to coarse through his veins. He felt the sudden urge to shove his friend's bloated face into the pristine mirrored wall. (1.10.5)

Unsurprisingly, Eddie's obsession with materialism leads him to be painfully envious of anyone who has something he doesn't. Dear reader, have you found any redeeming qualities in Eddie Cheng?

[Astrid] had entertained the fantasy that her husband was at some one-star hotel engaged in a torrid affair with the Hong Kong sexting tramp. Even while she was on conversational autopilot with her family, she envisioned herself bursting in on Michael and the tramp in their sordid little room and flinging every available object at them. The lamp. The water pitcher. The cheap plastic coffeemaker. (2.5.42)

Astrid's jealousy goes Hollywood in this fantasy. What strikes us, though, is Astrid really doesn't give in to the anger.

"I've known Jacqueline for years. I even made a trip to Hong Kong with her a long time ago, where she couldn't stop making a spectacle of herself, and all these idiotic men kept following us everywhere, proclaiming their love for her. It was a nightmare." (2.7.54)

Eleanor's comment is dripping with jealousy. Not only is Jacqueline a wicked hottie, but she was also who Philip Young was supposed to marry, according to Su Yi.

"WHAAAT? Colin's bachelor party is this weekend? Who the hell invited Alistair to his bachelor party? […] But Colin is better friends with ME!" Eddie screamed, the pressure building in his head. And then he felt a strange draft from behind. His pants had split open at the ass. (2.10.77-2.10.79)

Did anyone else laugh as hard as we did when Eddie's pants split open in the middle of his jealous tantrum?

"I can taste the coconut milk in the soup, but what gives it the slightly tart, spicy kick? Is it Kaffir?" Rachel asked.

Show-off, Eleanor thought […]

"Rachel, it's so impressive that you know your way around a spice rack," Francesca chirped, her fake-friendly tone barely masking her disdain. (2.18.63-2.18.66)

It's funny to us that Kwan uses "disdain" instead of jealousy here. While there is likely some snobbery involved, there's also a lot of envy of Rachel's skill and smarts.

He was careful to emphasize the word quite, knowing that his wife would fly into even more of a jealous fit at the thought of another woman in her vicinity being unequivocally proclaimed a beauty. (2.18.94)

Phil Young knows his wife, but it makes us think: Is it mere jealousy or do we have a Jocasta complex on our hands?

Rachel couldn't hide her look of surprise. Why had Nick never once mentioned this friend of his, this beautiful girl who inexplicably kept calling him Nico? Rachel gave Nick a measured look, but he simply smiled back, oblivious to the nagging thoughts filling her mind. (3.5.103)

Rachel stays pretty measured through most of the nonsense that happens to her, but we finally see an understandable crack in her visage.

[…] Eleanor […] had been in shock ever since she spotted Rachel on the promenade wearing the Grand Duchess Zoya sapphire necklace. Could her disapproving mother-in-law really have loaned the necklace to Rachel? Or, even more unthinkable, had she given Rachel the necklace? What sort of black magic was Rachel doing at Tyersall Park? (3.8.16)

Now we see that Eleanor's jealousy isn't just about Rachel's good looks, but it's about family members seeming to accept Rachel. Ah, perhaps Eleanor is jealous of this?

"What's more, the whole family seems to have fallen in love with her, even my […] sister-in-law," Eleanor said, almost choking on the words. (3.8.38)

Confirmed, Eleanor is jealous that the family loves Rachel.

This was exactly what Francesca had been hoping to achieve—to make her doubt herself, to make her angry at Nick. (3.10.33)

How do we know Rachel is unusual? Because she can talk herself down from a fit of jealousy to see it for what it is. We can't even walk away from melted ice cream on a hot day.