The Bonesetter’s Daughter is a very insightful story that explores the deep emotions and struggles that are experienced by most people from different cultures and backgrounds. The story has a sub-story embedded in it. The theme also revolves around many subplots. There are basically three main characters in the story, which are introduced to the readers in almost reverse chronological order. The first is Ruth, who is a Chinese born in America. The second is her mother LuLing, who was born in China, but later emigrated to America after the World War II. The third is Precious Antie who happens to be a bonesetter’s daughter. The novel’s name, therefore, derives from this character in the story.
The Bonesetter’s Daughter is the fourth novel of its author, Amy Tan. Like the characters in her book, she is also a Chinese American born in the USA in the family of Chinese immigrants. Her stories reflect many of her own personal experiences of being raised in two different cultures. She brings out these elements very convincingly in this novel, as the cultural differences between Ruth and her mother LuLing. Ruth is more modern, but her mother still believes in dragons and caves. Only when Ruth reads her autobiography, does she begin to understand why her mother in such things.
Ruth later finds in her mother’s autobiography that she lived in an orphanage and worked as a teacher during the World War II. She also learns that her mother went to extreme lengths to save the students in the orphanage from the Japanese soldiers and several other dangers. The autobiography opens a whole new world to Ruth and she has a much better understanding of her mother.