Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Week 7, Post B

Dear Miss Lily,
I am sorry you have lost so many important people in your life and that you had a poor, boring life after they died. I agree with you, and that a person should live a shorter, happier life than a long life that is filled with sadness. After all, what fun is it to live if you don’t have any friends or family to share the fun memories with? I really enjoyed following your relationship with Snow Flower throughout the entire novel. I liked seeing how you were both young and innocent as children, grew to love each other, shared hardships, and then returned to having a good relationship again. It was nice to see your relationship come full circle, even if you felt unsatisfied with the way you treated Snow Flower at the end of her life. How did you feel when Snow Flower told you, “Why should I trouble you with things you cannot change?” ? Did you think she was nice for not telling you her hardships and making you worry about them too, or were you angry at her for hiding her feelings and keeping the pain held inside of her? How did you feel when you realized Lotus had brought the secret fan to you house? I strongly disagree with the manner in which you attempted to release your angers. It is extremely unhealthy for anyone to keep their angers held inside of them. I realize that women in nineteenth century China needed to be strong and obedient to their husbands, but if I were in your situation, I would have talked to someone or written down my problems instead of trying to cover them up with ink because it just temporarily fixes the problem. How could you have been so cruel to Snow Flower and used the secrets she shared with you in such confidence, against her? Well I am truly sorry for the losses you endured in your life and I hope the rest of this life and your next life will be filled with happy memories.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Week 7, Post A

“I folded the fan and put it away. Snow Flower had asked me to write back. I didn’t” (221). In this novel, Lily and her laotong, Snow Flower, communicate with each other by writing on a fan. In America, people communicate by writing letters, and now-a-days they write emails. The traditional writing on the fan in China is a great contrast to the ways of writing in America. This type of writing also was a bond between the two women and had a huge impact on their lives, because it was a way of recording their history together. But in America, we write letters or emails to other people to communicate what’s happening at the present or future time.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Week 6, Post B

Dear Ms. Lily,
Your life has changed dramatically, yet again! I cannot believe all of the hardships you have gone through recently! The pain you suffered watching Snow Flower lose 5 children, and being separated from your family for over three months must have been unbearable, and I am sorry you had to endure this. The division between your life and Snow Flower’s life has become more apparent, especially after you became Lady Lu. Were you scared once you were named Lady Lu? Did you feel you had to live up to a certain reputation? Did you think other people would immediately recognize you and listen to your orders? Anyways, your relationship with Snow Flower seemed to be falling apart, yet you stayed with her and comforted her in her darkest days. You are a true friend. How did you feel when your husband left to find salt in Guilin? What do you think the affects would have been on your children and your relationship with your in laws if he had not returned? Anyways, it seemed like you had a strong sense of pride in your village, “The first case of typhoid struck in the best village in the county- my Tongkou,” (177) was this because you were the new Lady Lu? You have definitely changed throughout this novel, and I am surprised at some of your actions. For instance, “When Jade protested that there were no scallions, no slivers of pork, not even any preserved vegetables, I slapped her hard across the face” (178). How were you able to harm your daughter when you had been slapped as a child and heard of the pain that beatings caused Snow Flower? The winter in the mountains must have been terrible! I am still curious as to how you were able to survive three months on so little food and shelter. It must have been extremely difficult to be a mother and wife, away from your children for that long, wondering every day if they were alive. I am so happy your husband found you at Snow Flower’s house and I hope you have good luck in the future!


Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Week 6, Post A

“A son was a woman’s life. It was her job and her fulfillment to meet his every demand” (162). In nineteenth century China, women were only considered useful for producing children, and only the male children would become successful in life. A woman had to meet every single need and desire of her husband, as well as that of her son! This is an extreme contrast to American society, where the women are considered just as useful as men and do not need to make sure every demand of their sons, or children, is fulfilled. Most women in America want to create the best life possible for their children and strive to fulfill their children’s needs, but it is not necessary for the women to complete everything their children wants of them.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Week 5, Post B

Dear Ms. Lily,

Congratulations on the birth of your son! He sounds like a wonderful baby, and you seem so happy now that he is here. I find it interesting that though you take so much pride in him, you never say his name. What is his name? Are there any naming rituals you practice, like naming the first son after the father? How did you feel when your mother accused you of causing Beautiful Moon’s death by bringing her outside? I cannot believe that you remained so calm when you and your mother had that fight! I found a striking cultural difference between traditional Chinese and American culture, “As in most marriages, the most important person for me to build a relationship with was my mother-in-law” (140). Why is this? Here, the most important relationship is between the husband and wife. It’s good to have a relationship with one’s in-laws, but its more important to have a strong bond with one’s husband. There was also a great difference in the hopeful birth of a child. In America, parents are usually thrilled with whatever sex their child is. But in China, you and all mothers hoped so badly to have a son! I thought it was interesting how you stole shoes from the altar for your baby and then you bring back the shoes once your baby is born. I feel absolutely terrible that you and Snow Flower are no longer able to see each other. With all of the tribulations you two have had, moving into new homes and such, your friendship was one of the last remains of hope either of you had. I also found it really interesting when Snow Flower says, “‘I thought we would soar together- two phoenixes in flight forever. Now I am like a dead thing sinking to the bottom of a pond. You say we will be together just the same. I believe you. But my threshold will hardly compare to yours” (131). She realizes just how much harm she caused to you for lying about her family wealth and wants to mend your relationship if possible. I hope you two will be able to see each other soon!


Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Week 5, Post A

“Only she can guarantee the perpetuation of the family line, which, in turn, is the ultimate duty of every son. This is the supreme way he completes his filial duty, while sons are a woman’s crowning glory. I had done all this and I was ecstatic (151). A stark difference between traditional Chinese and American culture is the importance placed on having a son in the family. Mothers, like Lily, hope and pray to have sons so they can become higher members of society, because giving birth to a son gave the mothers a sense of belonging in their husband’s family. Once Lily gave birth to her son, her husband’s family became much nicer to her. Her mother-in-law brought her soups, and her father-in-law gave her expensive cloth so she could make a coat for her son. Even Lily’s husband began to talk to her more.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Week 4, Post A

“Yongang, the servant girl, led me through Tongkou’s alleyways. She carried my clothes, embroidery thread, cloth, and the third-day wedding book I had prepared for Snow Flower in a basket” (117). Yongang is Lily’s servant that she received through her marriage. First, any type of servant is really rare in American society, sure there are the occasional busts of people with “slaves” but for the most part it’s not a part of our culture. Secondly, American marriages don’t require the bride or the groom to exchange gifts or give things to each others’ families, which makes Yongang even more of a peculiarity.