Friday, October 9, 2009

Question of the Week (10/9/09)

Bones constitute an important motif in The Bonesetter's Daughter. What is the significance of the book's title? How does breaking a bone change Ruth's life and her relationship with her mother? What importance do bones hold for LuLing and Precious Auntie? Post your answer by Monday 10/12 for full credit.

35 comments:

lynda said...

bones are soooooo important in the book the bonesetters daughter becauseee precious auntie was the daughter of a bonesetter as “that was their inheritance“ p 184, but she also learned how to become a bonesetter herself, and that is how she found her husband. HOWEVER, it was also the bones that killed her husband in a sense because like if she didn't meet this guy then chang wouldn't be all like mad and then wouldn't have killed (p181)him because precious auntie would have probably married chang instead. also like the whole monkey jaw thing, taking bones from ancestors and the peking man, and a lot of curses. i think breaking the bone helps ruth bond better with her mother, because her mother just wants ruth to get better, and treats her better and doesnt bother her. bones for luling and precious auntie connect to each other because of the oracle bone that precious auntie left with luling, and the secret location of the bones in the monkey's jaw. secrets between them that they only know so yeah

Katie Callahan said...

I think that bones are a very important aspect of The Bonesetter’s Daughter. I think the title is significant because it can be applied literally. Gu Liu Xin was a bonesetter therefore Precious Auntie, LuLing, and Ruth are all daughters or descednents of a bonesetter. Figuratively, bone setters try to fix things and put them in place. Precious Auntie was trying to fix the curse and her life situation. Ruth is trying to smooth out her relationship with her mother and setting things straight.

Ruth’s life was affected when she broke her arm. Her relationship with LuLing changed tremendously. Even though LuLing went back to her old ways, Ruth was able to see the maternal and caring side of her mother, even if it was for only a short time. When Ruth broke her arm, LuLing was very worried and caring, this was the first time that Ruth had seen her mother truly care about her well being. After the fiasco, Ruth was able to see that everything LuLing does is because she thinks it is in Ruth’s best interest.

The motif of bones is also important in LuLing and Ruth’s lives because LuLing believes that a curse was put on her family because some of her ancestors moved bones of someone who died there. This curse continues to haunt LuLing throughout the book.

Bones both connected and destroyed Precious Auntie and LuLing’s relationship. At first, Precious Auntie showed LuLing the cave where her ancestors had dug dragon bones. This was a secret only Precious Auntie and LuLing knew about, which brought them closer and created trust. Later, bones broke their relationship apart. Mr. Chang, who had earlier killed and stolen dragon bones form Precious Auntie, wanted LuLing to marry into the family. Precious Auntie was extremely upset and ended up cracking and committing suicide. Precious Auntie cracked just as a bone would under too much pressure and weight.

Michaela Helble said...

The significance of the title, in my opinion, is to show how many relationships in the book are connected through bones. For example, Precious Auntie as the Bonesetter's Daughter causes a chain reaction of events that all relate back to her being the daughter of a bonesetter. Precious Auntie says that when she was with her father, two men came to the bonesetter and they would "both cause her everlasting sorrow but in two entirely different ways" (189). These two people are Chang and Baby Uncle. Becuase Precious Aunite rejects Chang, and instead tries to marry Baby Uncle, Lui Ling is born, and then when Lui Ling wants to marry into the Chang family, Precious Auntie kills herself. Becuase of this, Lui Ling is constantly asking Ruth "is the curse over? Are we safe?"(86). She believes Ruth communicates, in a way, with Precious Auntie and that defines the relationship between Lui Ling and Ruth. All of this happened becuase Precious Auntie was the Bonesetter's Daughter.
Ruth's broken arm changes the realationship between her and her mother greatly. I agree with Katie when she talks about how Ruth's realtionship with her mother changed becuase her mom was more caring towards her. Ruth was once again "well loved." (80). I also agree that Ruth is able to see that a lot of what Lui Ling does is actually in her best interests, but I don't think she actually realizes this until she's much older. Ruth's relationship with her mother changes in other ways, too. Ruth wrote "Doggie" in her sand tray, and Lui Ling belives it's Precious Auntie's ghost, saying "Precious Auntie...you've come back. Do you forgive me?" (85). From then on, it was Ruth's duty to "guess what her mother wanted to hear" (127) from Precious Auntie.
For Precious Auntie, bones are important because they show her how to live her life. First of all, she is a bonesetter, so she knows everything there is to know about bones. Secondly, Precious Auntie is sort of superstitious about bones. When Lui Ling wants to sell Precious Auntie's dragon bones for money, Precious Auntie claims "the curse will return" (203) if they do sell them. For Lui Ling, bones represent her heritage, and her connection with Precious Auntie. She always talks about finding Precious Auntie's bones and burying them. Also, Lui LIng "asks her [Precious Auntie's] forgiveness"(377) when she sells her oracle bone. Bones, in any shape or form, constantly reming Lui Ling of her real mother, and that is why they are so important to her.

Alice.Rottersman said...

The title is significant because it really captures what the book is about: a bonesetter's daughter. Of course it has to be taken loosely as it is really about a bonesetter's granddaughter and great granddaughter, but it all starts with the daughter, Precious Auntie. The bonesetter allows her to do things other women couldn't, "He spoiled me, let me do whatever a son might do. I learned to read and write, to ask questions, to play riddles"(186). Which catalysts as, a Michaela said,a whole chain of events, including Lulings's illegitimate birth.

Ruth breaking a bone changes her life because it leads to her silence, which teaches her how to munipulate people,"And then Ruth had an idea. She had always wanted a little dog. Now was the time to ask for one" (85). Her silence also change her relationship with her mother, who begins to think she can to talk to Precious Auntie, "'Precious Auntie,' Luling cried, 'you've come back.'" (85). As the others said, it also lets Ruth see how much LuLing cares, "Her mother wasn't angry, she was worried, full of love" (78).

For LuLing and Precious Auntie, bones bring them together and are what first break them apart. For example, Precious Auntie's oracle bone gives them a connection, "Someday when you know how to remember, I'll give this to you to keep" (183). It then starts to break them apart when they found out its worth, "'We could sell them for a million ingots'...she rattled me until a promise fell out of my clacking mouth" (203-204).

I agree with Katie that the bones being connected to the Changs also broke them apart.

Jeff said...

I agree with Katie that the title is representative of LuLing and how she is the daughter of a bonesetter. But I think that it goes deeper and shows that the book is going to be about the relationship between Ruth, LuLing and Precious Auntie. Because of the curse between the family, you could say that bonesetters daughter will be all of the daughters in the family until the curse is broken.

When Ruth broke her arm after defying her mother, she realized that she could manipulate her by not talking. It is kind of what happened with Precious Auntie after she drank the ink. She couldn't talk. But instead of manipulating others, she relied on others. That is very different. Ruth now has a different life because once every year she cannot talk. We don't know if she chooses to do this or if she is "possessed" by something. It could be Precious Auntie using Ruth to get what she wanted. She maybe is jealous of Ruth. Ruth uses this thing to manipulate her mother. I think that now that she's older she feels bad about what she did when she was younger.

Jennie said...

The title of The Bonesetter's daughter hold a lot of significance: It refers to Precious Auntie, WAS a bonesetter's daughter. It shows that the book is not just about LuLing or Ruth, but also their past, and how Precious Auntie had a huge influence on both their past AND the present for the two women.

When Ruth breaks a bone, her life and her relationship with her mother changes. Her mother shows how she can be a caring, loving mother figure, instead of just holding the title of mother but not showing love for Ruth. After Ruth falls from the slide, "her mother was lifting her, murmuring her tenderly, 'Ai-ya, how could you be so foolish? Look at you.'(78)". For the entire time that Ruth takes to recover from her "accident," LuLing shows how she can be a caring mother.

Ruth's fall and broken bone has another important point of significance as well: It opens up a link between LuLing and Precious Auntie's ghost. Ruth's way of communicating while her voice is lost is by writing in a sand box. After writing the word "doggie," LuLing believes that Ruth is writing what Precious Auntie's ghost is telling her to write, because Precious Auntie used to call LuLing "doggie." This communication between LuLing and what she believes to be Precious Auntie's ghost becomes very important throughout the book, and continues after Ruth recovers from her broken bone.

Bones are very important in this book for LuLing and Precious Auntie. They serve as a link to the past for both of them. Precious Auntie comes from a family of Bonesetters--her father was a very successful one at one point. This helps LuLing connect to her past, because she shares her past with Precious Auntie.

Jennie said...

I agree with Lynda--bones are both good and bad in The Bonesetter's Daughter. They were the profession of Precious Auntie's father, and passed on the Precious Auntie herself. They brought Precious Auntie's husband to her (Baby Uncle): They brought her love. But they also brought the Changs fortune after murdering Baby Uncle on his and Precious Auntie's wedding day. They brought Precious Auntie happiness, then tragedy and unfathomable sadness. Bones play a big rule in Precious Auntie's life.

Sarah McAndrew said...

The title of the book is so significant because bones are really the key factor that connects Precious Auntie and Luling. Because it connects Precious Auntie and Luling it also promotes a connection through Luling and Ruth. Bones connect these family members because it all started with Precious Auntie (who was the "bonesetter’s daughter"). The fact that the title refers to Precious Auntie tells us that the book isn't all about Ruth and Luling's relationship but more of that relationship combined with past relationships as well as the history behind Luling's superstitious ways.

When Ruth breaks her arm as a child her relationship with her mother is forever changed from that point on. Because she doesn't speak for awhile, her mother tenderly takes care of Ruth while she is healing. But the main change was that Ruth began using sand to tell her mother what she wanted. Luling being extremely superstitious took what Ruth would write and misconstrued it to be a sign from Precious Auntie (mainly because of the serious guilt Luling must have felt from the reason why Precious Auntie killed herself). Seeing that her mother believed everything she wrote, Ruth now had the power to virtually get whatever she wanted. All she had to do was write it in the sand, and make her mother believe that that's what Precious Auntie wanted her to do. Originally if Ruth had ever said something that she wanted her mother would have disregarded what she said. By remaining silent and instead writing it in a way that her mother believed was Precious Auntie she could have anything she wanted.

Bones are important to Precious Auntie and Luling because they had been passed down from Precious Auntie's father and were priceless artifacts from Precious Auntie's childhood. Also the bones connect Precious Auntie to Luling through heritage and helps Luling later in life find out who she really is.

lynda said...

I agree with Sarah on how bones changed Ruth's life forever. I think they also changed everyone else's life, too. It's how Precious Auntie met her husband, how LuLing made it to America, and how Ruth learned to cope with her mother, by writing in a sandbox instead of verbal communication.

Bones are a big thing in everybodies lives (in the book), even if they don't realize they are.

Robin Smith said...

Precious Auntie is the bonesetters daughter, her father was the bone setter, but Luling is also the daughter of a bonesetter because Precious Auntie was trained to be a bonsetter before her father was born. Precious Auntie affected the whole story, and had she not been the bonestters daughter there would never be the curse of the bones.

When Ruth breaks her arm she learns new things about her mother. She learns that her mother really does care about her a lot, when her Luling is constantly fussing about her. She also learns that she can manipulate her mother by pretending to be possesed by the ghost of Precious Auntie. This is usefull to her later in the book when she uses is to presuade Luling to move to San Fransisco.

Bones are very important to Luling and Precious Auntie because of the dragon bones that Precious Auntie was taught to use as a apprentice bonesetter. These bones turn out to be the bones of the Peeking man, and Precious Aunties Husband, and Lulings father dies because of them. Luling also marries Kai Jing, who is one of the scientists that is excavating the bones of the Peeking man. Although Kai Jing dies, and is not Ruths father he still plays a big part in the her and Lulings future lives. Kai King dies because of the bones and it has a terrible effect on Luling, Ihttp://hhsworldclassics.blogspot.com/2009/10/question-of-week-10909.html think this is when she first starts to think about killing herself, and it is a trait that continues for the rest of her life,"Kai Jing, she said, had gone to Christian heaven, and if I did suicide, I would be forbidden by god to go see him. To me, the Chirstian heaven was like America, a land that was far away, filled with foreigners, and ruled by their laws. Suicide was not allowed.(304)" She is obviously thinking about taking her own life here, and thoughts like these continue for her whole life.

A agree with Michaela that the bones are really a conecting factor between many of the characters in the story. All the characters are directly or indirectly effected by the actions that Precious Auntie took, 60 years before the actual story.

Brendon said...

Bones are significant to this story. They are the true link between each main character. Gu Liu Xin was a bonesetter. He had a daughter, Precious Auntie, who then had a daughter, LiuLing, who had a daughter, Ruth. These characters are all brought together by bones, "...that was their inheritance." (184).

When Ruth was a girl, she broke her arm going down a slide. The pain that her arm was giving her caused her to not talk. Since she was not talking her mother (LiuLing) began to treat with great respect. Ruth caught on fast and began not talking for long after her injury. She grew to enjoy the power of silence and began not talking for one week every year when she first started living with Art. This was for the power. Her life took on a whole new look on how it living could be, with this power. During her broken arm recovery, she grew close to LiuLing because LiuLing would truly listen to what Ruth was writing and always incorporate Ruth into all of the actions LiuLing was doing. LiuLing was very proud to be the mother of a girl so strong. Ruth, with this new found power actually begins manipulating her mother by using the ghost of precious auntie to get her way.

Precious Auntie, being the daughter of a bonesetter, inherited many things relating to bones, including the dragon bones her father had used as medicine. These bones were eventually proven to be human and other animal bones. This was the beginning of the curse. The curse which "killed" Gu. The curse which now haunts LiuLing, and will haunt her until the dragon bones are put back in their original resting place.

Leah said...

Bones are like the skeleton of this story, always present, always connecting and supporting; always felt, even if not visible. This motif is evident from the very beginning, starting at the book's title, "The Bonesetter's Daughter." The bonesetter's daughter, Precious Auntie, relates somehow to every event that takes place in the book.

Bones hold extreme significance to Precious Auntie and her daughter, LuLing. Precious Auntie's family had been bonesetters for nine hundred years. "That was tradition" (183). Her father "did not have to go to a special school to be a bone doctor. He learned from watching his father, and his father learned from his father before him. That was their inheritance. They also passed along the secret location for finding the best dragon bones, a place called Monkey's Jaw... And the secret of the exact location was a family heirloom, passed from generation to generation, father to son, and in Precious Auntie's time, father to daughter to me" (184). Dragon bones are extremely important to Precious Auntie and LuLing. They are the bones used by doctors for medicine, "well known for curing anything, from wasting diseases to stupidity" (183). Precious Auntie believes that she - and the whole family - are cursed because of these dragon bones, which her father (in a dream) tells her are from humans. He tells her "they are from our own clan, the ancestor who was crushed in the Monkey's Jaw. And because we stole them, he's cursed us" (202). LuLing believes in this curse, as well, and lives her life attempting unsuccessfully to escape it. Another connection between Precious Auntie and LuLing is the oracle bone, a dragon bone her father had almost ground up for medicine, but gave to Precious Auntie when he realized the true value. Precious Auntie promises LuLing that "someday, when you know how to remember, I'll give this to you to keep" (183). This family is all connected by bones.

Leah said...

As for the other part of this question, and in response to Brendon, I think Ruth's breaking her arm as a child changed her life by showing her the power of silence. However, I disagree with Brendon that she did not talk because of the pain. Right after the incident occured, when her mother was "worried, full of love" instead of angry, "in her amazement, Ruth forgot her pain" (78). I think at first she didn't talk because she was in shock, and had nothing to say. "But the less Ruth said, the more her mother tried to guess what she might want" (79). At one point, Ruth considers "making a little sound so small no one would even hear. But if she did, then all the good things that were happening might dsappear. They would decide she was fine, and everything would go back to normal. Her mother would start scolding her for being careless and disobedient" (80). Ruth's silence brings her everything she wishes for. While she is silent, her mother treats her like "a baby again, well loved, blameless" (80). Her silence brings her gifts, popularity, and admiration. This is what she learns.

Sonya said...

Bones are a very important important motif in The Bonesetter's Daughter. Bones are "their inheritance" (184), and LuLing (and Ruth) are both descended from a long line of bonesetter's. The title of the book is significant because it highlights the importance of family relations. The book is about both LuLing and Ruth. LuLing is the daughter of Precious Auntie, who is the daughter of a bonesetter. Ruth is LuLing's daughter. The title could be talking about any one of the three, but to me, it seems to be talking about each of the three major daughters in the story, and the fact that bones connect them. The fact that Precious Auntie is a bonesetter's daughter is significant in the story. As a few people have already mentioned, it is for this reason that she meets both Chang and Baby Uncle, who "would both cause Precious Auntie everlasting sorrow, but in two entirely different ways" (189). As Alice said, this starts a whole chain of events leading to LuLing's birth and then most of her life after that.

Ruth breaking her arm changes her life and her relationship with her mother. Ruth is silent after breaking her arm, which LuLing thinks of as strength. LuLing is proud to have a daughter who is so strong, and is nice to her, giving her everything she wants. This is how Ruth first learns to manipulate people, as she likes the special treatment and so stays quiet. However, when Ruth starts writing in the sand pretending to give messages from Precious Auntie, the relationship changes. On Ruth's part, it becomes more manipulative, as now she can have Precious Auntie "tell" her mother what to do, for example having them move to San Francisco (149). For LuLing, the relationship becomes less about her daughter and more about herself. She no longer is as nice to Ruth because she is proud of her, but selfishly wishes to hear from Precious Auntie.

I really like the way Alice put it, that bones bring Precious Auntie and LuLing together, and break them apart. LuLing talks about how Precious Auntie would always tell her stories about "her father, the famous Bonesetter" (3). Precious Auntie promised to one day give LuLing her oracle bone, and the two would hunt for dragon bones together in a cave, the location of which had been "passed from generation to generation...in Precious Auntie's time, [from] father to daughter to me." (184, "me" being LuLing). However, it is discovered that these bones are actually from the "Peking Man" (202) and are very valuable. Precious Auntie, though, thinks that they will be cursed if they are in posession of any of the bones, which should be immediately returned to the cave. But LuLing wants to sell the bones. Foolishly, she tells Chang that she knows where some are (210). This causes him to propose a marriage between his son and LuLing, who wants to accept the proposal, even though it angers Precious Auntie. LuLing becomes very angry at Precious Auntie, who ends up killing herself (242).

Kelsey said...

As most people have already said, bones play a very important role in this book both literally and figuratively.
As Katie said, literally, bones are very important because Gu Liu Xin (Precious Auntie's father) was the boneseter, making her the Bonesetter's daughter. Also, as we discussed in class, this technically makes Precious Auntie a bonesetter as well, because her father taught her everything he knew about bonesetting. This in turn also makes LuLing a bonesetter's daughter.
Figuratively, the title of this book may also show how Ruth and LuLing are both trying to piece together and "fix" their pasts and where they came from. Both have letters and manuscripts from their mothers, and are slowly trying to understand the past.
When Ruth breaks her arm, her relationship with her mother is changed significantly. As many people have said, after this event Ruth is able to see the loving, caring side of her mother: "She then saw her mother's face, the tears streaming down her cheeks, falling on her own face like wet kisses. Her mother wasn't angry, she was worried, full of love." (78) And again later, LuLing takes care of and nurtures Ruth: "For two days after the fall, Ruth was helpless; her mother had to feed, dress, and bathe her." (80)
Another role that bones play in this book is to do with the curse and Peking Man. When the bones of the "Peking Man" (202) are moved from the Monkey's Jaw, it creates a curse. The entire Liu family lives in fear following this curse.
Lastly, the oracle bones are another important reference to bones in this book. Precious Auntie found an oracly bone, and says, " Now the scholars call these oracle bones, and they sell for twice as much. And the words on here? They're questions to the gods." (183) The discovery of the oracle bones probably added to LuLing's superstitions.

Emily Lohr said...

As both Katie and Brendon (and pretty much the rest of the bloggers) have said, the title is significant because it connects the people. The Bonesetter's daughter was Precious Auntie, she could also be known has a bonesetter because she helped her father with setting bones (187). LuLing is Precious Auntie's daughter (so she could also be known as the bonesetter's daughter, in a way) and she had a daughter, Ruth.

Breaking a bone changes Ruth's life because it allows her to see LuLing in a different light. "Her mother wasn't angry, she was worried, full of love. And in her amazement, Ruth forgot her pain" (78). This was the first time that Ruth saw her mom with a soft side and she loved every second of it. Her broken bone causes her to become silent, which causes her to write everything down. This is the first time Ruth has ever felt power. "Ruth had never experienced such power with words" (85). She decides to try to ask for a dog (by writing in the sand) and this leads LuLing to believe that Precious Auntie's ghost is living through Ruth's writing, which opens up a new door of power for Ruth.

The Monkey's Jaw is the place for finding the best Dragon bones. "And the secret of the exact location was also a family heirloom, passed from generation to generation, father to son, and in Precious Auntie's time, father to daughter to me" (184). Precious Auntie shared this secret with her daughter, which is important because it shows that LuLing is part of that family and also shows that Precious Auntie has trust in LuLing. These bones connect LuLing and Precious Auntie. I also agree with Jennie in this section saying that the bones serve as a link to the past for both of them.

Kelsey said...

I agree with Sonya that when Ruth first breaks her arm, it is when she first learns to manipulate people. I didn't realize until now that when Ruth convinced her mom to move to San Francisco was quite manipulative on her part. She knows that her mom will believe her if she says that it is a message from Precious Auntie, because LuLing still feels badly about how her relationship with Precious Auntie ended. Ruth uses this information to her advantage by manipulating her mother into moving.

mason vogt said...

I think bones in the book "The Bonesetters Daughter" play a large part as a bad omen, bad luck, or a curse. When Ruth breaks the bone in her arm she is in alot of pain, and a curse of silence came after the event. Precious Auntie had a bad experience with bones as well. Bones were stolen from her when her fiance was killed. The bones were a dowry, sealing the deal of marriage, "the jar of opium, and the jar of dragon bones, they were the last of his supply" (196). LuLing has a bad experience with bones when The Chang family give bones to archeologists, and they make a great discovery, but it brings many people who LuLing dislikes to the small town. This discovery of the ancient bones brings prosperity to the Changs, who stole the bones from Precious Auntie, who should be getting rich.

Lauren Hoh said...

The title is very important to the book because bones are used throughout the book as many different symbol, for example the oracle bones and Peking Man. Plus, the book is pretty much talking about Precious Auntie's past and future and what Luling knows her as.

When Ruth broke her arm, it wasn't just a broken bone, it was the first time she was liked, got to do stuff the popular kids did, and have her mother constantly caring for her. When Ruth uses the sand to "connect" with Precious Auntie, it is at those times that she can make her mom think in certain ways and it usually gets Ruth what she wants. I think her mother thinks of Ruth as more important that she can talk to Precious Auntie for her and tell her that Luling is sorry.

The oracle bone that Precious Auntie gives to Luling is a piece of Precious Auntie that Luling gets to keep after Precious Auntie dies. The time when Precious Auntie and Luling would go to the Monkey's Jaw to look for bones was important for Luling to learn about Precious Auntie's father and past. Then, when they get cursed, it is because of the bones that were taken from the cave. So they got "cursed" because of the bones being taken from their ancestor.

Lauren Hoh said...

I agree with Katie that when Ruth broke her arm, she got to see the maternal side of Luling, not just when her mother was criticising her all the time. When Luling is always telling Ruth that there is something wrong with her it makes Ruth feel really bad, but when she sees that her mother just cares about her, she feels loved. When Ruth is brought to the nurse it surprises her that her mother is worried not angry at her, and that she is proud of Ruth for not making a fuss.

tylertorh said...

I think that the whole concept of bones ties in to the whole concept of leaving literature for other people to find in the sense that both are ways of immortalizing yourself.
for example the Peeking man (202) is said to be millions of years old even though this is an overexaggeration.
by using bones and manuscripts Tan is able to create an effective time machine between present day and olden day Chinese times. The title of the book is very interesting because we are unclear who exactly the title of bonesetters daughter is applied to. It either applies to Luiling orrrrrrrr precious Auntie. It would make more sense for the title to apply to Precious Auntie but the story is more centered around LuiLing.
to me this is a mystery.
Bones are signifyng a bong between Precious Auntie and Luiling because only Precious Auntie and LuiLing know the entrance to the secret cave that the get the dragon bones from. Also the both LuiLing and Precious Auntie share the title the "Bonesetter's Daughter"
When Ruth breaks an arm it signifies the first time that Ruth is used to be a speaker for Precious Auntie. I believe that this is very fitting due to the fact that Precious Auntie is the original bonesetters daughter.
This passage wouldnt work if Ruth had pulled her arm out or something.

Bryce said...

Bones plays an important role in this book. Precious Auntie was a bonesetter and without her there would be no LuLing or Ruth. It is symbolic in the way that bones make up the human body and Precious Auntie makes up LuLing and Ruth. The title is important because "The Bonesetter's Daughter" is Precious Auntie as well as LuLing. It represents these people because Precious Auntie's father was a bonesetter and she was one as well, so LuLing is also a "Bonesetter Daughter."

When Ruth breaks her arm it is significant because LuLing thinks it is kind of a sign from Precious Auntie. Since Auntie was a bonesetter and LuLing is supersticious, she believes that Auntie's ghost can heal Ruth (p. 85). This is also significant because since LuLing has gone through so much, it shows how she can be comforting because she knows what it is like to not be able to talk (communicating with her mother) and how hurt you can feel. So many people have died in this book and this is an example of how people can help one another through though situations just liek GaoLing helped LuLing when her husband died.

Bones is a symbol of their family history. Also, one of the only things LuLing has to remember Auntie is the family bone handed down to her.

Alex Krass said...

The title of most books is very important. Forr the Bonesetters Daughter I think it has multiple meanings. Clearly LuLing and Precious Auntie both are bonesetters daughter so it works in that sense. But I think that there is more importnat meaning then just that. Being a bonesetters daughter means a lot more then just a title. Being a daughter means you learn the sacred trade, you are in possesion of the dragon bones which clearly means a lot, and in this case, you know the place to find the best bones. This is importnat to the book because it means a lot to Precious Auntie and LuLing that the hiding place of these bones is kept safe and a lot of there lives is shapped around the dragon bones and where to find them.
When Ruth breaks her arm when she was little this changed a lot in her life at the time, and for years to come. This is when Ruths silence first started and this clearly made her look at the world in a diffrent way. This is also the first time that Ruths mom LuLing uses her to speak to Precious Auntie. This goes on for the rest of their lives that we know of. This shapes a lot of how they interact with each other and much of waht they do and say revovles around the idea that the ghost of Precious Auntie is talking through Ruth.
I agree with what thor said about how Ruth breaking her bone is the first time LuLing used Ruth to talk to Precious Auntie and this clearly has a lot of meaning towards the book jsut liek the title does.

Erin Donohue said...

I completely agree with what Robin said in his opening statement, which talked about the relationships and significance of the family and what has been created from these relationships that effect things now.

Largely, I think that the most important relationship that exists is between Precious Auntie and her father, the bonesetter himself. As she spent a portion of her childhood helping her father in his shop, I belief that this was a way for her to become unique and different (right from the start) when compared to other girls her age. She describes these years to LuLing on page 186: "because of grief, Precious Auntie said with her hands, he spoiled me, let me do whatever a son might do. I learned to read and write, to ask questions, to play riddles...to walk alone and admire nature. Old buddies used to warn him that it was dangerous that I was so boldly happy, instead of shy and cowardly around strangers." What she learned she then chose to pass on to LuLing; overall her relationship with her father influences how she mentors her own daughter.

I believe that the broken bone allows LuLing to realize the mistakes that she made with Precious Auntie while she was growing up. When Ruth becomes silent, it is as if LuLing is in the presence of Precious Auntie once again. By communicating through silence and gestures, LuLing is able to realize that patience is the key to either making or breaking her relationship with her daughter; possibly it is the destruction of their relationship that LuLing fears most (which she was forced to face and as a result become dependent of). Silence was not only abused by Ruth but also LuLing both during similar ages while growing up.

The importance of bones for LuLing and Precious Auntie becomes more clear in the novel during the second book. As LuLing deals with Kai Jing's death, she creates her own oracle bones to write out the things that she wants to remember from her life spent with him. One of those messages was, "You are beauty, we are beauty, we are divine, unchanged by time" (page 305). LuLing uses bones to remember these memories, and avoid forgetting them. Precious Auntie passed this idea to LuLing through her own oracle bone that she kept from her father (a significant memory in itself).

Mallory said...

A big part of the book is about Precious Auntie and she was the Bonesetter's daughter. I think it also extends out to Ruth and LuLing because they are the grandaughter, and great granddaughter of the Bonsetter and the book is about the women's relationships with each other. When Ruth broke her bone when she was little she also pretended not to be able to speak. At one point her mother misunderstood Ruth and thought that she was connecting with Precious Auntie and was trying to relay a message to LuLing. From then on out LuLing thinks Ruth can talk to Precious Auntie and there is a never-ending lie between Ruth and LuLing. Bones are also very important for LuLing and Precious Auntie because they are almost like a part of the family. Their family secret was also where the magical medicine bones were found. Not only was the location of the bones sacred it also was what brought the "curse" upon the women of the family. Because an old ancester's bones were not buried correctly.

Ella Kaplan said...

The story is set up as Ruth reading LuLuing’s story and with in LuLing’s story, Precious Auntie’s story is told. Since we find ourselves reading about before Ruth and LuLing, it is Precious Auntie who is really the foundation of the story and as we all know, is the daughter of a bonsetter (“She nodded toward me and said with her hands: My family name, the name of all the bonesetters.” (5)). Like others have said, not only is precious auntie the bonesetter’s daughter, LuLing is also the bonesetter’s daughter since Precious Auntie was taught by the ways of her father to become a bonesetter.

I think that when Ruth broke her arm, she saw a side of her mother that she had never seen before, a caring side. I agree with Alice in that Ruth developed a manipulative side to her. “Ruth wondered if this was true. She thought about making a little sound so small no one would even hear. But if she did, then all the good things that were happening might disappear. They would decide she was fine, and everything would go back to normal. Her mother would start scolding her for being careless and disobedient.” (p. 80). Once Ruth discovers she has this power over her mother by being silent, she uses it to her advantage. We also find out later (p.85) that LuLing thinks that Precious Auntie is trying to communicate her through Ruth. We know that this isn’t actually happening and later in the story, we know that Ruth uses it to her advantage (p.149).

I think that bones are a reminder to LuLing about her heritage and about her and Precious Auntie’s past. A specific bone that is important to LuLing is the oracle bone “[in reference to oracle bone] But I decided once again I could not do that. I was not that poor in body and respect for my family.” (p. 329). I think that the Oracle bone really connects LuLing to her heritage and is a representation of who she will always be.

Sam said...

The title displays the importance of Precious Auntie. Precious Auntie is the true Bonesetter's daughter and since she is the mother and grandmother of the two main characters to the story, she seems to be the pivotal character. If it weren't for being the daughter of a Bonesetter, Precious Auntie would never meet the Changs or Baby Uncle. Through the sequence of events, the importance of this specific detail is unraveled. The curse, the oracle bones, the broken hearts, and even the present life of Ruth all lead back to the Bonesetter's daughter.

By breaking a bone, Ruth begins her "vow of silence." This is when she first realizes how her mother really loves her and how she can seek power in her life. More importantly, LuLing introduces her to the sand box. Whatever Ruth writes in the sand is a message from Precious Auntie. By this understanding, Ruth becomes the messanger between LuLing and Precious Auntie's ghost. Most importantly, after Ruth broke her arm she realized "her mother wasn't angry, she was worried, full of love" (78).

The connection of bones between Precious Auntie and LuLing seem most important in the oracle bone and the meeting of the Chang family. As mentioned before, without the Changs in the picture everything would have been a Disney movie, leading right back to the meeting in the Bonesetter's workshop. The oracle bone is a bone that was passed from Precious Auntie to LuLing as a gift and a way to remember her. The bone seemed to hold all the memories of Precious Auntie, and LuLing knows its importance. She guards the object as closely as possible, never selling it in her attempt to leave Hong Kong. It seems that she knows the curse lies in the bone, and as soon as she gets rid of it, the curse will haunt her forever.

I agree with Tor in that the title also can belong to LuLing because she too is a Bonesetter's daughter. Although Precious Auntie never does business in this field, she is extremely experienced and I am comfortable giving her the title of a Bonesetter. Therefore, it would make sense that LuLing might also be the Bonesetter's daughter mentioned by the title. However, it is still up for debate which one the title belongs to.

Daniel G said...

I actually hadn't thought about the title at all before, and I assumed its only importance was its direct meaning. That meaning, of course, is about how Precious Auntie is the daughter of a bonesetter, in a family of bonesetters "For nine hundred years 183." This has a lot of importance in itself, but throughout the book, bones of all sorts are tied into the plot in ways that are clearly related to the bonesetters and not.

When, Ruth broke her arm, she learned valuable lessons through silence, but it also led to something else. It was when she first started using the sand tray to convey Precious Auntie's messages to LuLing. Not only was this caused by the breaking of a bone, but it connected Ruth to Precious Auntie for the first time, and it was the introduction to LuLing's family of bonesetters and their past.

In part two, pretty much all of the crazy events that go on, even after the death of the bonesetter's daughter, revolve around the presence of bones in their culture. On page 300, Kai Jing is taken in by the communist army, one soldier saying to him, "If you've worked to preserve the past, surely you can work to create the future." Kai Jing and a bunch of other scientists worked in the quarry to find and preserve some of the bones, and it caused his being taken in by the army and eventually,his death.

Also, when LuLing was to marry the into the Chang family, Precious Auntie forbid her to do so. Not knowing why, LuLing didn't listen and on page 241 she said, "I would join them just to get away from you." After Precious Auntie killed herself over these words, LuLing discovered why Precious Auntie didn't want her to marry the son of Chang: "He wanted me to marry his son only so I would tell him where to find more of those bones." Chang had murdered members of Precious Auntie's family, and all of these deaths pointed back to the bones.

Nathaniel brown said...

In book 2 bones represent the bonesetter family and it's troubles. After Precious Auntie's husband died, bones took an increasingly large role in the story. The Peking man discovery and Chang's subsequent fortune caused the Liu clan even more grief. It lead to Chang's enslavement of the Liu clan. Then, after Liu Ling was placed in the orphanage, her husband Kai Jing worked in the Peking Man quarry. This caused Liu Ling even more grief because it was Kai's work in the quarry the lead him to be enlisted by the Comunists. This then caused his death by the nationalists. All of this leads us to believe that bones really are a sort of a curse, at least in book 2.
When Ruth breaks her arm in book one, the theme of bones is continued. Liu lings caring reaction can probably be attributed to the bone connection. She knows Precious Auntie was a bonesetter, which helps her care for Ruth and remember the past at the same time. It is evident that Liu Ling thought of Precious Auntie because when she brought Ruth the sand tray to write in, she thought the messages came from Precious Auntie. Even if Liu Ling was only being nice because she was remembering Precious Auntie, her kindness helped to improve her relationship with Ruth. Ruth's silence and broken bone caused Liu Ling to appreciate Ruth, and Ruth to feel appreciated.

Chris W said...

Well...I think that one of the main motifs so far is family history, and this ties directly into that. They're a very superstitious family, and when LuLing suggests selling the "dragon bones" Precious Auntie scolds her and tells her that "the curse will return. A ghost will then come and take us and our miserable bones with it." on page 203....so yeah, the affect of bones on their family is an important part of the book so far...

Ruth becomes a little more trusting in what her mother says after she breaks her arm, in a sense that she's more superstitious than she was before, will the week long silence thing she does every year...They also became closer because they started to connect through the sand thing so that Precious Auntie could communicate with LuLing...

Meh, similar to what I said above, but I could also add on that "for nine hundred years, Precious Auntie's family had been bonesetters" 183 so it's clear as to why it's important to her. As for how she and LuLing's views on bones go...well, LuLing doesn't really care. She said she'd marry into the Chang family to get away from Precious Auntie because she didn't care for the bones, whereas Precious Auntie was a firm believer that the bones were extremely important to their family...

Burton said...

Bones in this book are important for many reasons. For one obvious reason, it's because Precious aunty was a bonesetter and was a healer with bones. But bones are also important because they seem to really cause the story to change, or start a new path. An example of this is when the Peeking man was found all attention was on Lulings little town, and people were all over looking for more bones they could sell. Also we see a family, the Chang's, willing to bring in a daughter in law just to find more bones. This not only changes The Chang family, but also Luling who grows confident from her trip to meet them, and then tries to push precious Auntie away, forever changing the book.

The breaking of Ruth's arm was the worst and the best thing that could of happened to Ruth that day. On the down side it meant that ruth had to get a cast, but on the good side it brought out her mother (Lulings) love. We see it all unfold on page 78 when Ruth describes her mothers reaction to her breaking her arm. Ruth says things like Luling was "full of love" and "wasn't angry" things she was surprised to see from her normally tough mother. This really tightens their bond because for one it shows Ruth her mother really does car for her, but also they start to spend more time together, seeing as Ruth can't do much with a broken arm. It also begins the process of writing in the sand, where Ruth writes what Precious Aunty wants to say to Luling.

Bones are very important to all characters in the story but especially to Luling and Precious Aunty. For Aunty its important because that was the work she did with her family, and a way for her to remember her youth. Also it is what brought Aunty and Luling closer together, with Aunty showing Luling all the secret bone spots, like the monkeys jaw, and then showing her all her families old tricks that were well hidden secrets till then.

Burton said...

I really like what leah said about the bones and how they are all connecting, and how they are what ties the book together. I never really thought about it like that but after reading that post it is very true how all the parts of the book seem to come together around bones, wether it be digging them up, or using them as a reason to marry.

Daniel Alberta said...

The title of the book, the bonesetters daughter refers to precious auntie and all of the previous generations of bonesetters. Bones are an important thing that keeps on showing up throughout the book. When Ruth Breaks her arm going down a slide, her and her mother start to form a closer relationship. Her mother treats Ruth very nicely and gives he whatever she wants. Ruth also finds another way to relate to her mom. Precious Auntie. She writes in sand what Precious Auntie is telling her and that helps Ruth and Lu Ling to connect. All of these things happened just by Ruth breaking he arm.

I agree with Jenny that breaking her arm brought Ruth and Lu Ling together.

christopher.harwick said...

I agree with just about everyones comments. For example I agree with daniel about the title "The Bonesetters Daughter" refers to Precious Auntie, but I also believe it could refer to LuLing who was the daughter of a bonesetter being precious auntie. Also the daughter part of the title refers to Ruth and Gaoling. The idea of bones are extremly important to the book at all times. It does not matter wether it is in the first, second, or I imagine the third book. Bones are important through out the book. First precious auntie was a bonesetter, meaning she healed broken bones. Also precious aunties family knew a cave where bones were found. This finding of bones is pointed out again when the Changs become rich and Lulings first husband is geologist and finds bones. Bones are very important to Precious Auntie and Luling, because they are always surrounded by them like I pointed out earlier.

Kiana said...

I agree with Emily and Katie. The title connects the main characters in the book; Ruth, LuLing and Precious Auntie. Precious Auntie was the daughter of a bonesetter and learned the traditions from her father. She then passed them onto LuLing, telling her the family secrets. LuLing didn’t show Ruth like Precious Auntie had but she wrote about it and gave her stories to Ruth to read.
Ruth’s life changed when she broke her arm. For Ruth, “It was comforting to be a baby again, well loved, blameless.” (80) She felt like her LuLing cared for her and still loved her again when she broke her arm. It was the first time Ruth became silent and learned to use writing to express herself. She also started to manipulate LuLing with writing, telling her Precious Auntie wanted something that really Ruth wanted, but Ruth knew if she made LuLing think it was Precious Auntie LuLing would think it was important. That is how Ruth managed to convince LuLing to move to San Francisco to get away from Lance.
Bones were an extremely important part of LuLing and Precious Auntie’s relationship. As Katie said, Precious Auntie shared the secret of the dragon bones with LuLing, giving them a special bond. That same secret ended up tearing them apart later when LuLing decided she was going to marry Mr. Chang who had stolen the dragon bones from Precious Auntie. Precious Auntie forbade the marriage but LuLing didn’t acknowledge Precious Auntie’s request and Precious Auntie ended up killing herself.