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The main characters in Dragonwings are Windrider, Moon Shadow and Miss Whitlaw. Moon Shadow is only eight when he leaves his mother in China and sails to join his father, Windrider, in San Francisco. Windrider works in a Laundry company that he and his relations own.

Dragonwings has several minor characters, such as Lefty, one of the relations who owns shares in the company and squandered his money away in gambling. Lefty felt so bad he cut of his left hand, the one that had held the dice. Uncle is the oldest and most stubborn member of the company. He is also Moon Shadow’s Uncle. Black Dog is Uncle’s son and he works for the company when he’s not in an opium den. White Deer who owns shares in the company, is almost as old as Uncle.

Windrider got in a fight and killed a man in a gang called the sleepers. Uncle said that it would be too dangerous for Windrider to stay in the Tang people’s town because other Sleepers would try to kill him. Windrider and Moon Shadow moved to a barn in the part of San Francisco where the white demons lived. It was owned by a woman named Miss Whitlaw. Moon Shadow expected all the white people to be mean and cruel to him. Miss Whitlaw was very nice. She gave Moon Shadow some ginger bread cookies, and many times Windrider, Moon Shadow, Miss Whitlaw, and Robin, Miss Whitlaw’s niece, went on trips to the beach and flew the kites that Windrider made. All of the other white demons threw rocks or made fun of the Tang men.

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Many months before Moon Shadow came to America, as Windrider slept, the Dragon King came down and asked Windrider to come with him. The Dragon King told Windrider that in his former life Windrider had been a dragon and that he had been a phenomenal healer for the dragons. Windrider had acted selfish and irresponsible by gambling, and trying to put out the sun, and therefor Windrider was transformed into a soft skin, until he could prove himself worthy of being a dragon again. The Dragon King told Windrider to look for tests in his life as a way to prove himself, and if he passed the tests he could be a dragon again.

The Dragon King asked Windrider to heal a giant wound under one of the Dragon King’s wings, but Windrider protested that he remembered nothing of healing. The Dragon King gave a solvent to Windrider. When Windrider washed his hands in the solvent his hands knew how to heal the Dragon Kings wound by themselves. In return for healing his wing the Dragon King put a pair of iridescent wings on Windrider and let him fly all night.

Windrider built the most beautiful kites, but his life long dream was to fly. Building kites was how Windrider could feel connected to the dragons. Windrider’s ability to build was a remnant of his former life as a dragon. Unfortunately Windrider’s dreams of flying had to be put on hold, because of the earthquake of 1906. The barn that Windrider and Moon Shadow were living in was burned down, their landlord, and friend Miss Whitlaw’s house had been burned down too. Windrider and Moon Shadow were forced to rent out a new barn in Oakland where not as much had burned.

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Moon Shadow wrote a letter to the only other men who had flown, Wilber and Orvil Wright. The Wrights sent Moon Shadow charts to make the propellers and other important parts of the airplane. Windrider could not build the plane all at once, because of the shortage of money to buy supplies. Finally when the plane was built the whole company and Miss Whitlaw had come to help push the plane up to the top of a hill. Windrider started up the engine and the plane flew high above the ground, Windrider flew for about 10 minutes the he tried to land and the plane crashed. The whole company including Miss Whitlaw and Moon Shadow ran over and brought Windrider back to the barn and put splints on his three broken ribs, his broken arm, and his broken leg.

The Climax of Dragonwings was the fulfillment of Windrider’s dream when Windrider made his flight. The whole book built up to the flight that Windrider made. The crash was also a big part of the climax because the plane crashed, and then Windrider regretted flying.

The lesson that the book Dragonwings was trying to get across is that you should look at what you have and not sacrifice what you truly want for a dream that is bound to have flaws. Windrider was being selfish and irresponsible by flying just for himself, and not thinking of what his family would have done if he had been killed. Windrider had learned that because he was selfish and irresponsible he had been transformed into a soft skin and almost lost his life.

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Dragonwings was interesting because this book shows you how prejudiced and cruel people really are and how the strong people who rise above prejudices with be the successful ones. Dragonwings also shows you the differences between the beliefs and technology of the Chinese Americans and Caucasian Americans at that time.

Windrider accomplished his life long dream, and realized that he no longer wanted to fly because he loved living, and wouldn’t want his life taken. Windrider said that when he realized he was about to crash he wished he had never wanted to fly, because he thought he was going to die and he didn’t want to leave his family with no money, and no real home.