Snow flower and the secret fan book club discussion
SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN – Reading Group ChoicesISBN She has nothing but time now, as she recounts the tale of Snow Flower, and asks the gods for forgiveness. 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: nu shu "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, and composed stories, thereby reaching out of their isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. With the arrival of a silk fan on which Snow Flower has composed for Lily a poem of introduction in nu shu, their friendship is sealed and they become "old sames" at the tender age of seven.
Reading Group Guide
As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on fans, compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together, they endure the agony of foot-binding, and reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their deep friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart. View all posts by pinallibraries.
When just reading books isn't enough
Sign up for our newsletters! In your opinion, is Lily, who is the narrator, the heroine or the villain?, See has always been intrigued by stories that have been lost, forgotten, or deliberately covered up, whether in the past or happening right now in the world today.
What changes in Lily's life that makes her attitude toward Snow Flower's suffering become so cold? What significant role does Lily's mother play in her life? Explain her mother's monkey nature and how it comes out in her dealings with Lily. The butcher is a complex character. Is he good or bad, or a little of both? Discuss his assets and his flaws. Discuss the irony in Lily's mis-translation of the nu shu that caused the break in her relationship with her laotong.