The Joy Luck Club

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Second Wife Character Analysis

The second wife of Wu Tsing, who despises An-mei’s mother for being younger and more beautiful than she is. She forcibly takes An-mei’s mother’s new baby boy from her and adopts him, making Wu Tsing believe Second Wife gave him his heir, not An-mei’s mother. When An-mei’s mother commits suicide to give An-mei power over Wu Tsing, Second Wife is relegated to a position of unimportance in the family.
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Second Wife Character Timeline in The Joy Luck Club

The timeline below shows where the character Second Wife appears in The Joy Luck Club. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 4, Chapter 1: Magpies
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
...the main house after spending the hotter months in their own houses with their children. Second Wife is clearly the dominant matriarch, and tries to win An-mei over with a beautiful strand... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Storytelling and Tradition Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
An-mei learns more about Second Wife from a servant who’s loyal to An-mei’s mother. Second Wife gained power in the household... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Fate and Autonomy Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
After learning the awful truth about Second Wife ’s wickedness, An-mei starts noticing all of Second Wife’s attempts to hold power. The worst... (full context)
Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Fate and Autonomy Theme Icon
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
...suicide by overdosing on opium. Though some think it was supposed to be faked like Second Wife ’s attempts, An-mei’s mother previously told An-mei that she was going to “kill her own... (full context)