Extreme Measures

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Katrina Rufin
Kroenung
English 1 (7)
26 April 2013
Extreme Measures
Have you ever tried to change yourself just to fit in, or even to make yourself seem more likeable? People seem to change themselves just to fit into society today, or maybe even to be noticed more by others. Whether it is getting plastic surgery to enhance your beauty, or giving somebody that first impression, everyone seems to at least change themselves a bit to be accepted into society. This is what the women in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, a novel by Lisa See, experience throughout their lives. Not only do they want to fit in, but they also want to boost their social statuses. As an eighty year old woman, Lily takes her readers on a journey of her life starting in her so called “Daughter Days,” to her “Sitting Quietly” days. She talks about the pains of foot binding and child birth, and the fearfulness of an arranged marriage. There is also another important factor of the book which is Lily’s laotong, Snow Flower. The two go on many adventures together, and have their ups and downs. The book is a reflection of regret by Lily as an old woman when she realizes what things she could have done differently in her life. The most conspicuous theme in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is that women will go to extreme measures to improve their social status with both their appearance and adherence to cultural practices.

A woman’s appearance basically decides her fate, especially depending on how big her feet are. Foot size determines how marriageable a person is in the book. To a man, a woman’s foot is what defines her to be attractive. This is why Lily goes through foot binding when she is seven, and she and her mother try to get her feet as small as possible. This is important because the smaller the foot, the more likely Lily is able to marry in to a higher class family. Lily explains how small feet can determine your future and whom she will marry when she says, “My small feet would be...
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