Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Chapters 16-Epilogue Summary & Analysis

Lisa See

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

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Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Chapters 16-Epilogue Summary & Analysis

Chapter 16: Letter of Vituperation

Life returns to normal for Lily and her family. Snow Flower, on the other hand, never recovers from the effects of their time in the mountains, either physically or emotionally. Lily’s husband points out that that Snow Flower is not as strong as she is, and that she is being mistreated by her husband. Lily confronts Snow Flower about her husband’s abuse and tries to convince her to leave him and come and live with her in the Lu household. Snow Flower refuses, because she cannot bear that shame of being known as a woman who abandoned her family, and she doesn’t want to leave her son unprotected in the butcher’s home.

Lotus, a woman Lily remembers from the time in the mountains, brings Lily the fan from Snow Flower. Snow Flower has written on the fan: “You won’t have to listen to my complaints anymore. Three sworn sisters have promised to love me” (220). Lily feels betrayed by Snow Flower, remembering how she herself had refused to reject Snow Flower and join a sworn sisterhood when her own mother-in-law suggested it. Lily begins to view their entire friendship as a series of betrayals on Snow Flower’s part. When Snow Flower writes again, asking for a response, Lily ignores her. Lily builds a flower tower, like the one they built for Beautiful Moon, and then burns it along with every letter and souvenir of their friendship she can find. When Madame Wang, now a very old woman, brings Lily a new fan, intended to be shared between Jade and Snow Flower’s daughter Spring Moon as lautongs. Lily refuses the gift and cancels the commitment.

When Snow Flower’s cousin is about to be married, both Lily and Snow Flower attend the month of “Sitting and Singing” in the Upstairs Chamber. Snow Flower sings a “Letter of Vituperation”, in which she tells the story of her difficult life and then goes on to tell of how she has been rejected by her lautong. Lily offers a responding “Letter of Vituperation”, in which she reveals all of Snow Flower’s dark…

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