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Snow Flower And The Secret Fan

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1319 words Published: 27th Apr 2017

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The novel Snow Flower and the secret fan is written by Lisa See which had taken place in China in 1800s . Lisa See had written about the girl’s life in China when girls were having their feet bound and then they used to spend the rest of their lives in isolation with only one window through which they can see . They were kept un educated and isolated . They were not projected to think or to be artistic and to have emotions . But in one distant country girls and women had established their own secret code which is called “Nu Shu” which means women writing . This “nushu” is the one gender based language to be written or one written language which had been found by these women of China in the world . Some girls were being paired as “old-sames” in the arousing matches that had lasted all the way through their lives .They used to paint many letters on fans side by side embellished messages on handkerchiefs and also composed stories an that way reaching out of their windows for sharing their dreams expectations , hopes ,accomplishments and success.

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In this novel an old woman used to tell her own relationship with her “old-same” along with their marriages which were arranged and the happiness and tragedies of motherhood awaiting a horrible misinterpretation which are written on their secrets fan will make a threat to rip them apart. Through the features and emotional quality of Memoirs of a Geisha ,this novel had delved into one of the most mysterious and precious relationships of all time friendship of females. As of foot-binding onwards the girls and women used to live isolated in a second-story compartment of their house hold because of the difference between the inner monarchy of the house and the outer monarchy of men set at the very heart of Confucian society.

This novel depicts the sufferings of humans in a lot of ways, like the psychological pain of foot binding , the pain of women of that time who were being treated as a property that time and the horrible and painful return back down the mountain trail with dead bodies at every place.


Lily is the main character and the first person relater of her life story. She was born in the early 1823. Having been in China during the 1800s and into the early 1900s, Lily had got the experience of a lot of Chinese history including transformations of many ancient dynasties of China.As the novel begins she is eighty years old. She had been reflecting about a fan that she had acquired from her friend Snow Flower before many years. By the side of the fan’s many folds the two women had recorded the important events of their lives in Nu Shu which is a secret written language used and understood only by women during that time. Lily has a best friend named Snow flower who is considered as her “laotong pair” because her relationship with Snow Flower is quite different than the relationship other Chinese people had when they got married.

The departure:

In the beginning and middle of their close relationship Lily and Snow Flower were very faithful to each other and trust each other very deeply. They both were so close to each other that they used to share all of their things with each other from clothes to all necessities and even their secrets of life .Then later on every thing had changed after they married.


Lily and Snow Flower actually end up living quite different lives, in spite of their close relationship. Lily, in spite of belonging to a lower class family had ended up by marrying a man of high power because of her “beautiful feet”. She had ended up by marrying one of the most powerful men in the region and becomes “the most influential women in the region”. On the other hand unfortunately for Snow Flower, her life did not end up as promising. Snow Flower had ended up by marrying a person of lower class in the society ,her man had turned out to be a butcher. Beside this on the top of her “unhappy marriage” she had gone through a number of most unfortunate events which includes many beatings that had occurred because of her husband and the deaths of many of her children.

Due to these happenings every thing had changed in between of them .Lily and Snow Flower’s relationship unfortunately did not remain so close for long. Their relationship eventually had taken a turn for the worse.

Snow Flower and Lily are extremely unfortunate to be born in the 19th century China with its strict rules and regulations towards women, and it’s really more than oppression , actually it is persecution. Snow Flower and Lily journey together through foot binding, hair pinning days, marriages, babies, poverty, and in the end, death. Moreover they had passed a fan back and forth as a letter, which details their life, goals, dreams, and mostly, their deep affection for one another. After all they both were “Old Sames” .And together make one. This was their destiny.

From Daughter days to Sitting Quietly days, the girls endure footbidding in other words allowing them to make an arranged marriage .They had learned how to take care of a home, and study nu shu in the women chamber of their respective homes, while the men work outside. Lily, a farmer’s daughter, marries up and becomes Lady Lu. Snow Flower, an opium addict’s daughter, whose father can not support his family anymore had married down, and lives a hard life as the wife of a country butcher.

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They both pray to have boys, which will give them a higher status in the in-laws household. Lily has three sons and a daughter, On the other hand Snow Flower had two sons and a daughter (and a lot of miscarriages) Snow flower also faced many deaths in her life along with her worst going life in which her grand mother had died and her third sister. Sun flower and Lily meet at set dates to visit the Temple of Gupo or to go back to their families for the Catching Cool Breezes Festival. Over the years, they share their pains through messages in nu shu, and record important events of their lives on the fan.


Although Lily comes from a family of relatively low station, her beautiful feet play a role in her marriage into the most powerful family in the region. Lily is later known as Lady Lu, the region’s most influential woman and a mother to five healthy children (four sons and one daughter).

A misunderstanding causes the women to stop writing to each other, but they had reconciled as Snow Flower’s death approaches.

Lily and her friend Snow Flower are a loatong pair or in other words more closely than husband and wife. It is said by Lily’s aunt that their relationship relates to that relation which is being made by choice for the purpose of emotional companionship and eternal fidelity.


Lily ends up sharing all of Snow Flower’s confidential secrets that Snow Flower has told Lily in private, which therefore damages Snow Flower’s reputation in the community. This therefore ruins Snow Flower’s and Lily’s relationship, although by the end of Snow Flower’s life Lily is still there for her


Throughout the time they have on this planet together before Snow Flower’s death they both had written many letters to each other. This helps to demonstrate how close the two really were, and how they really relied on each other, even if it was just for someone to talk to. When the book returns to the present, Lily has been living over 40 years without her friend Snow Flower, and still feels that Snow Flower was a good person overall and still misses her. Lily does feel bad about what she did to Snow Flower all those years ago, damaging her reputation.


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