Snow Flower And The Secret Fan Essay

Snow Flower And The Secret Fan Essay

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Lisa See’s 2005 novel, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, discusses the role money and class has in nineteenth Century China. The family dynamic is shattered due to the desire to achieve economic stability. Early in the novel, Lily seems to have a complicated relationship with her family because daughters were not valued during the nineteenth century. Lily describes her relationship with her mother as, “I was a third child, a second worthless girl, too little to waste time on until it looked like I would survive my milk years. She looked at me the way all mother looked at their daughters—as temporary mouth to feed and a body to dress until I went to my husband’s home. (See 12). Lily, however, displays affection for her family, frequently sitting on the lap of her father. She often receives cold treatment from both of her parents. Out of the love Lily feels for her family, she obeys and honors the wishes of her parents. The family’s poor background and lack of financial stability leaves the family no choice but to follow the customs common to nineteenth century China in hopes to rise up in social standings.
In order to obtain a higher class status, Lily’s mother follows the customs of foot binding. The family wants their “worthless” daughter to gains some value so they bind her feet at an early age. Before they begin the long, painful process, Lily’s mother realizes that Lily’s feet are something special that will give her a higher value in the marriage market. Lily’s mother calls a match maker, Madame Wang to give them a second opinion on Lily’s feet. Madame Wang states, “Her foot has a particularly high arch, which means that if the proper allowances are made now, her feet could be the most perfect produced in the country.” (See 21...


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...hat the money. The theme of love is portrayed through the brother in the story. It is apparent that he loves and cares for his sister very much. In the opening of the piece, it states, “The wanting to give is only learned through the learning to love” (243) and this statement is personified though the brother. He dreamed of finally getting the gold ring at the Flying Horses but when he finally gets it, he gives it up. He loves his sister and valued her happiness so much he gave up his own happiness. Early on, the nephew seems selfish because he spends all of his money so quickly. The nephew’s display of love and kindness at the end proves how mature this boy actually is. The boy was able to understand love in a very mature way and values love over money. In the end, the two realize that money doesn’t buy or prove happiness or love. It is our actions that prove love.

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