Study Guide

Dragonwings Chapter 7

By Laurence Yep

Chapter 7

Educations (May-June, 1905)

  • Moon Shadow's schedule at the stable is not too different than it was before in the Tang village. He goes into the Tang people's town in the morning or early afternoon to buy goods. He works every day but Sunday.
  • Every day Windrider allows Moon Shadow one half hour of recreation. One day Moon Shadow decides to use this time to pay Miss Whitlaw a visit.
  • Miss Whitlaw offers Moon Shadow cookies and milk. Moon Shadow presents jasmine tea to her as a gift, which she eventually accepts.
  • Moon Shadow is appalled when Miss Whitlaw almost puts milk and sugar into the jasmine tea. He stops her just in time.
  • The packaging of the tea has a dragon on it that Miss Whitlaw comments on as beautiful.
  • Moon Shadow tries to explain that dragons can also be great creatures, not only the mischievous ones that the demons seem to know.
  • There's a knock at the door and both Moon Shadow and Miss Whitlaw realize that he has gone over his half hour time. Father appears, stern.
  • We learn that Miss Whitlaw has five elderly boarders in her home.
  • Moon Shadow has a bad encounter with the neighborhood demon boys one day when he's taking out the trash. There's this one especially obnoxious boy with brown hair and freckles.
  • The boys jeer at Moon Shadow, chanting a cruel rhyme. When Moon Shadow tries to defend himself, they make fun of his English. So, naturally, Moon Shadow curses them out in Chinese.
  • The boys throw vegetables, garbage, and stones at Moon Shadow.
  • Moon Shadow keeps the incident from his father, afraid that it'll make them move back under the control of the Sleepers.
  • Moon Shadow stays indoors when his father is gone, afraid to meet the boys' meanness again. Windrider comes home with a black eye, saying some Tang men tried to rob him in Mr. Alger's building. He is proud to say that he won the fight.
  • Moon Shadow is especially skittish when he's using the water pump outside, so afraid that he usually runs back and empties half of the water bucket.
  • Robin notices Moon Shadow acting in this anxious way and brings buckets of vegetables to peel outside to keep him company. But she doesn't outright tell him that. She instead badgers him with questions, like why is he so afraid of the water pump?
  • Miss Whitlaw catches Robin pestering Moon Shadow and chastises her.
  • To prove to Robin that he is not afraid, Moon Shadow joins her by the water pump.
  • Windrider spends half an hour each day reading aeronautical books to Moon Shadow. They figure out the ratios to build a model glider together.
  • Windrider and Moon Shadow walk to the sand dunes in San Francisco on Windrider's day off. Robin follows them.
  • They test run the glider. Windrider immediately knows what to work on for the next version.
  • Robin is impressed with Moon Shadow's English when it comes to all things plane-related.
  • Robin goes to their stable to see the airplane books. She wants to see the books from which Moon Shadow got the dragon stories. Moon Shadow explains that he didn't get the stories from books. He says that dragons could be all around and teeny tiny.
  • Robin tells Moon Shadow that she is from Missouri by way of excusing her stubbornness.
  • Robin shares her books by E. Nesbit with Moon Shadow. She also brings along dime novels, which she borrows from the girl next door, Maisie.
  • Robin and Miss Whitlaw give Moon Shadow reading and writing lessons with these books. Moon Shadow's particularly into the dime novels. Who doesn't like smut?
  • Moon Shadow shares his memories of home with the ladies. Their relationship gets closer and Moon Shadow is convinced they were close in a previous life.
  • Things aren't going so great for his father, so Moon Shadow takes things into his own hands and writes a letter to the Wright brothers with Miss Whitlaw's help.
  • Two weeks later, Moon Shadow gets a letter from Orville Wright that includes diagrams and charts about airplane stuff.
  • Windrider is upset with Moon Shadow when he learns that his son asked for help from the Wright brothers and Miss Whitlaw. He worries that Moon Shadow told Miss Whitlaw about his dream. He crumples up the letter.
  • Miss Whitlaw comforts Moon Shadow and continues the comparison of Windrider to a dragon (7.165).
  • The next morning, Windrider has flattened out the crumpled letters and is examining them. He asks Moon Shadow to write another letter to the Wright brothers, okaying Miss Whitlaw's help.