Snow Flower & the Secret Fan- Critical Lens

Topics: Family, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Marriage Pages: 3 (830 words) Published: October 27, 2008
“Loyalty is the mark of true friendship.” In a relationship, never-ending devotion and faithfulness further deepens the impact of the bond, establishing a friendship that will last an eternity. In the novel, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, the true bond of friends is shown through the relationship between the two main protagonists, Lily and Snow Flower. When they were younger and were starting their “footbinding days”, they learned of each other’s problems and coped with their hardships together. As they grew older and got married, they experienced many difficulties trying to meet each other but still overcame them by writing to each other constantly. Even when one betrayed the other, the other always understood. Through their everlasting devotion to each other, these two girls formed a relationship that stayed true and loyal for their entire lives.

In nineteenth-century China, when wives and daughters were foot-bound and lived in almost total seclusion, the women in one remote Hunan County developed their own secret code for communication called nu shu or “women’s writing”. Some girls were paired with laotongs, "old sames," in emotional matches that lasted throughout their lives. They painted letters on fans, embroidered messages on handkerchiefs to communicate their feelings and emotions to each other. “Footbinding” became a social tradition for all women and showed their social status. Lily and Snow Flower were two laotongs who established their friendship at a young age. They get their foot bound on the same day at the same hour for two laotongs must be alike in every way. Once they get their foot bound, they must never leave the “upstairs women’s chambers” where no man can enter. Through the painful ordeal of getting their foot bound, the two laotongs strengthened their friendship by understanding each other’s pain and suffering. Lily and Snow Flower become acquainted with each other’s lifestyle and they slowly learn about the differences...
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