Summer Reading Prodject

Chinese Cinderella by: Adeline Yen Mah

Plot Line


The characters in Chinese Cinderella are...

-Adeline (Jun-Ling/Wu Mei)

-Big Brother (Gregory)

-Niang (Jeanne Virginie Prosperi)

-Father (Joseph Yen)

-Ye Ye

-Aunt Baba

-Big Sister (Lydia)

-Nai Nai

-Big Brother (Gregory)

Rising action

Four-year-old Adeline proudly showed Aunt Baba the medal she received from the kindergarten teacher for being the best student of the week. Aunt Baba was proud of her little niece and put the certificate that Adele received along with the medal into her lock box, the same place she kept her precious jewels and other valuables. It meant so much to her. Aunt Baba had cared for Adeline since she was 3 days old,(when her mother died.) Adeline always asked to see pictures of her mother but Aunt Baba had no pictures of her. Adeline learned years later that her father had ordered all pictures of her mother destroyed. A little while after her moms death her father remarries a beautiful Eurasian woman named Jean. The children are told to call her Niang (a Chinese term for mother). She immediately began placing strict rules on her step children. After her two new children came along things just got worse for Adeline and her siblings. When they moved to there new home in Shanghai, Niang instructed them that they could only enter and leave the house through the servants' door. The living room was off-limits to them. They all had to share rooms on the hot third floor while Niang, Adeline's father and their two children had bedrooms on the air conditioned second floor. The stepchildren could only enter the second floor with permission from Niang.


Adeline quickly became the main target of Niang's cruelty. Adeline was the top student in all her class and was elected its president. Niang told her she was a show off and that she was getting uglier and uglier as she matured. Soon Niang decided that Adeline should be shipped away to boarding school. During two years at one boarding school, Adeline received no visitors and no mail. Later, she learned that Niang made sure that all of Adeline's mail be sent to Niang. She was even left at school during Christmas breaks. She was the only student in the entire school who was not taken home.

Falling action

Adeline is picked up from the boarding school by Naing sister who doesn't know that Niang has abandoned her on purpose when they moved to Hong-Kong. While Adeline travels for weeks with her aunt and there family she is treated with kindness and fairness just like the others. when they stay in cabins there are only two beds and so Adeline immediately assumes that she must sleep on the cot because she isn't used to being treated fairly. Instead her aunt has them draw straws to decide who will sleep on the cot. And when Adeline's cousin has to sleep on the cot she doesn't complain about it at all.


Somehow Niang's abusive behavior and Adeline's father's abandonment of her did not cause Adeline to not want to learn and excel at school. Her father, who had forgotten her given name and actual date of birth while filling out some documents for a flight she was taking, finally realized what an amazing person his daughter was and what amazing potential she had. When Adeline was a teenager she won an international writing competition, her father told her that he would be sending her to school at Oxford in England. Aunt Baba told Adeline that she was proud of her and that she would always be precious to her. She affectionately called Adeline her Chinese Cinderella.

Other Book Information


The book Chinese Cinderella takes place in Tianjin, Shanghai, and Hong-Kong, China.


The author of Chinese Cinderella is Adeline Yen Mah.


Adeline's mother dies 3 days after her birth and the other children blame Adeline for everything bad that happens after that. Adeline's father soon remarries. Niang (Adeline's step mom) dislikes Adeline very much. She later decides to send her away to boarding school for two years. she also makes sure that Adeline can't receive or can send any mail to anyone; not even her dad. Also Niang doesn't bother to get Adeline when they move to Hong-Kong. Her Aunt picks her up several months later. Adeline ask her father if she can go to collage in England and he agrees to send her. She sees her Aunt Baba again for the last time before she leaves for England, and her Aunt calls Adeline her chinese Cinderella.

Character Analysis


Adeline is a very smart young girl. She always does the right thing and she is always careful of others. She always makes wise decisions. Her motivation is to please Naing with her work. Because Adeline makes good grades she pleases her father and that makes her siblings mad. In this book Adeline feels like she is the "unwanted daughter".