Sunday, November 13, 2011

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

 I happened to come upon nineteenth century China in  Snow Flower and the Secret Fan in a lounge of a hospital. It took me to  a journey into rural Hunan province during the "footbinding" era. Apparently, these teeny weeny feet (size of cigarette pack) were considered highly erotic. These poor women who belonged in the upper crust of society endured torture and sometimes death when they were about 5 years old in order to have these "lotus" shape feet (that usually stunk and rotted) so they can be "sexy" when they are of marrying age. These perfect tiny feet it seemed, can land you a wealthy husband (which were always the objective).

But this book was so much more, it was also about the life of girls in the era and how they were basically raised to be part of their husband's family, their secret language called Nu Shu which they used to secretly communicate with each other and their relationships with each other and their husband's families.

As I was reading it, I couldn't help but to juxtapose it with Jane Auten's, Pride and Prejudice, which was in the same era. A world apart, but ultimately, it's also about looking for wealthy husbands. Sigh... sad.