Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Important Quotes

Lisa See

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

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Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Important Quotes

  1. “By the time I was forty, the rigidity of my foot binding had moved from my golden lilies to my heart, which held on to injustices and grievances so strongly that I could no longer forgive those I loved and who loved me” (Prologue, p. 4).

At the beginning of the novel, the narrator introduces herself and the story she is about to tell. In this sense, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a frame tale, or a story within a story. The central story of the friendship between Snow Flower and Lily is framed within the context of Lily as an old woman, dictating her story to her grandson’s wife, Peony. In the prologue, entitled “Sitting Quietly,” Lily introduces the story she is about to tell. With this line, she reveals to the reader—or the listener, as she is dictating to Peony—that the story she is about to tell is a confessional one. The statement foreshadows the events to come, and in this way informs her audience of what kind of story to expect.

  1. “There was something . . . I still do not quite know how to describe it. I would say that something like male ambition glowed right through her skin” (Chapter 1, p. 19).

Lily is describing her mother’s appearance during the first visit of Madam Wang, the matchmaker. Lily, who is only six years old, has just been identified as having the potential to make a profitable marriage connection. At this moment, Lily recognizes her mother’s shrewdness in business, a quality, which in men would be considered an asset, but in women is considered a fault. At this point in the novel, as we are still learning about the society in which Lily lives, this comment about the maleness of her mother’s appearance helps the reader to understand that there are distinctions between what is appropriate for women and what is appropriate for men. Lily’s story will include many instances of individuals behaving in ways that challenge, but at the same time draw attention to, the gender restrictions imposed by her culture.

  1. “In one instant…
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