Study Guide

Dragonwings Chapter 6

By Laurence Yep

Chapter 6

The Demoness (May, 1905)

  • Moon Shadow describes the poorer demons that hang out around Polk Street. He thinks the houses look like monsters with lots of windows for eyes.
  • The wagon pulls up to a Victorian house. Moon Shadow is frightened when he is told to watch the wagon while Windrider and Hand Clap go inside.
  • Hand Clap wishes Moon Shadow and Windrider well and prepares to go, but Red Rabbit waits for Windrider to get in. It's a bittersweet moment when Moon Shadow and Windrider watch Hand Clap and Red Rabbit slowly recede in the distance.
  • Windrider and Moon Shadow go to the backyard stable, where Windrider immediately gets to work building shelves for the Company's gifts.
  • The two go to the main house to visit their landlady, Miss Whitlaw. But first, Moon Shadow's a smelly kid, so Windrider gives him a crisp new shirt to wear. Moon Shadow complains that Miss Whitlaw is only a demon, why should he clean up? Windrider responds that Mother believes everyone should be treated with respect in case they were royalty in past lives.
  • The father and son meet Miss Whitlaw, the first demoness Moon Shadow has seen up close. Moon Shadow expects her to look like a Miyazaki villain of sorts, but finds her to be pleasant.
  • Windrider and Moon Shadow present Miss Whitlaw with a picture of the Stove King, a messenger to the Lord of Heaven who Tang people bribe with tasty foods so he'll report good things about the families.
  • Miss Whitlaw invites Windrider to tea and Moon Shadow to gingerbread cookies and milk. Moon Shadow is suspicious of the milk, mistaking it for cow's urine. He is all about the gingerbread cookies, however, and eats all of them.
  • Throughout this introduction to Miss Whitlaw, Windrider and Moon Shadow alternate between Mandarin and English, with the English designated by italics in the book.
  • A crash at the door announces Miss Whitlaw's niece, Robin, who moved in when her parents died. Robin is the first demon child Moon Shadow has been so close to. Robin is spying at the door, and Miss Whitlaw reprimands her.
  • Moon Shadow is busy checking out Robin's red hair and gingham dress when he notices her toy gadget, the stereopticon. He looks through the lenses and is shocked to find himself looking at Niagara Falls.
  • They all move to the parlor room. The room has a slide projector, travel books, and other knick knacks that imply Miss Whitlaw's love for travel.
  • Moon Shadow admires the stained glass window featured in the parlor. The window depicts a dragon, which Miss Whitlaw describes as evil creatures that St. George killed. Moon Shadow is stunned that the demoness's idea of dragons is so negative and clearly misguided. He wants Windrider to correct her, but Father says it's rude to correct a host.
  • Robin begins playing the piano, the first that Moon Shadow has seen of its kind. Miss Whitlaw takes the bench and plays "Simple Gifts" upon Robin's request. Moon Shadow is impressed by the way Miss Whitlaw plays and sings.
  • The sun's glow through the stained glass mixed with the overall encounter with the demoness makes Moon Shadow wish his mother were with him.
  • When Moon Shadow and Windrider return to their stable, Moon Shadow shares some theories about Miss Whitlaw being a Tang person in a former life, or being the ghost of a Tang woman.
  • Moon Shadow falls asleep considering the notion that he and Miss Whitlaw were maybe even mother and son in a previous life. He decides that she deserves to know about dragons, if so.