Chinese Cinderella

Chinese Cinderella

Wu Chun-mei is the daughter of a wealthy merchant family and becomes Adeline’s best friend during her years in Shanghai. Chun-mei is a remarkable athlete, initially catching Adeline’s interest with her prowess in any sport or game. However, the two bond most over their love of reading, and Chun-mei often loans Adeline books to read in exchange for help with arithmetic. Although Chun-mei is unaware of Adeline’s abusive home life, she seems to intuit that Adeline suffers in some way and responds by being a fiercely loyal friend, walking to and from school with Adeline for miles as an act of solidarity, even though her chauffer is right behind them both. She also refuses to have her birthday party unless Adeline can attend—despite the fact that many other friends can attend—showing to Adeline that she is cherished by the people around her. In this way, Chun-mei demonstrates the ways in which good friends are invaluable to individuals enduring abusive or traumatic situations. Chun-mei inadvertently discovers the abuse that Adeline suffers from her parents when, after helping Adeline become the democratically-elected class president, she organizes a surprise party of friends who follow Adeline home and witness Niang screaming and beating Adeline until she bleeds from her face. As Chun-mei leaves, still loyal to Adeline, she shouts at Niang and Father that such treatment is cruel and unfair. Adeline is taken to Tianjin days later as result of this incident, and the two never see each other again.

Wu Chun-mei Quotes in Chinese Cinderella

The Chinese Cinderella quotes below are all either spoken by Wu Chun-mei or refer to Wu Chun-mei. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Physical and Emotional Abuse Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Ember edition of Chinese Cinderella published in 2010.
Chapter 10: Shanghai School Days Quotes

Though [Wu Chun-mei’s] chauffeured car invariably awaited her when school finished, she often chose to walk with me until we reached her house, with her driver trailing behind at a snail’s pace. In the morning, if she happened upon me trudging along, she would order her driver to stop and would hop out and accompany me all the way.

Related Characters: Adeline Yen (Jun-Ling / Wu-Mei)Niang (speaker), Wu Chun-mei
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 16: Hong Kong Quotes

“It’s so unfair,” Victor continued. “Why doesn’t [Adeline] get to go anywhere with us?”

“That’s just the way it is!” Niang exclaimed sharply. “You either get in now and come with us, or you can stay home with her. Suit yourself!”

“In that case,” Victor replied gallantly, “I think I’ll stay and keep Adeline company.”

Page Number: 156
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Wu Chun-mei Character Timeline in Chinese Cinderella

The timeline below shows where the character Wu Chun-mei appears in Chinese Cinderella. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 10: Shanghai School Days
Friendship Theme Icon
The most athletic girl in Adeline’s school is Wu Chun-mei , the daughter of one of Shanghai’s wealthiest families. Although Adeline considers herself quite skilled... (full context)
Physical and Emotional Abuse Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Self-Worth Theme Icon
Toxic Family Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Wu Chun-mei sees Adeline walking to school one morning and asks her driver to offer Adeline a... (full context)
Friendship Theme Icon
Wu Chun-mei and Adeline become close friends. Chun-mei gives Adeline books to read and Adeline helps Chun-mei... (full context)
The Power of Stories Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Wu Chun-mei loans Adeline an English book, The Little Princess, in which a seven-year-old heiress loses her... (full context)
Physical and Emotional Abuse Theme Icon
Toxic Family Theme Icon
...happily reflecting on the fact that she has just won a city-wide writing competition and Wu Chun-mei has won an award for athletics and been commended for her improvement in arithmetic. The... (full context)
Toxic Family Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
The next morning, as Wu Chun-mei and Adeline are walking to school together, American sailors ask them for directions. Wu Chun-mei... (full context)
Chapter 13: A Birthday Party
Toxic Family Theme Icon
In September 1948, after summer recess, Wu Chun-mei starts “begging” Adeline to come over to her house for her birthday party. Adeline keeps... (full context)
Physical and Emotional Abuse Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...they will all wear their school uniforms and meet at the school, then proceed to Wu Chun-mei ’s house. None of the others know that Adeline is going in secret, hiding the... (full context)
Physical and Emotional Abuse Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Self-Worth Theme Icon
Toxic Family Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...Aunt Baba had secretly given her, with which she meant to buy a present for Wu Chun-mei . However, Niang notices that there is something in her pocket and demands to know... (full context)
Chapter 14: Class President
Physical and Emotional Abuse Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Self-Worth Theme Icon
Toxic Family Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
At school the next day, Wu Chun-mei is curious about what happened to Adeline the day before, and Adeline wonders if Niang... (full context)
Coming of Age and Self-Worth Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
The next day, Adeline wins the class election with the help of Wu Chun-mei , whose popularity helps sway many students. Adeline is thrilled, feeling that they have both... (full context)
Physical and Emotional Abuse Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Self-Worth Theme Icon
Toxic Family Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...them that Father wants them to leave, feeling as if she is dying of shame. Wu Chun-mei offers Adeline a handkerchief, and as she leaves with the others, she shouts at Niang... (full context)