Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

23 May

My Elder Sister recommended this book to me ages ago, and I’ve had it out of the library before and had to return it before reading it, so this time when the due date (tomorrow) rolled around and I had yet to pick it up till yesterday, I was determined to get ‘er done. 

This book was (obviously) a nice quick read, and easy to get into, and I loved learning about the old Chinese culture, frustrating and airless as it may have been.  The female characters were vivid, despite living out the vast majority of their lives in upper chambers, busy embroidering and chatting, unable to walk far and having no place outside the home even if they could.  The description of footbinding will set your teeth on edge and make you curl your toes and wonder how your foot could be convinced to be a mere 7 cm long, while at the same time you feel your unaltered feet suddenly do look like “flapping fish, freshly caught”.  The rules surrounding the proper way of doing absolutely everything are mind-boggling, as is the placid acceptance of women of their fate.  The description of the use of “nu shu”, a language known only to women, was interesting to my linguistics side, as it is the only record of any such language in history.      

I had no idea this is now a major motion picture!  If they include the sound of all those little girls’ toes snapping under their own body weight, I’m out.  But I do recommend reading the book, and if you’re of a stronger stomach when it comes to watching suffering, watch the movie and let me know what it’s like.  

This video gives an interesting take on footbinding…

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

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3 Responses to “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan”

  1. Kim May 24, 2011 at 1:49 am #

    I am halfway through the book myself at the moment. It is very interesting and very disturbing at the same time. The parts about the foot binding left me feeling sick at the thought, but I was also morbidly curious about how it would look. Thanks to your video I now know and am again sick at the thought. How could mothers do this to this daughters and how could it ever have been thought to be beautiful when the women were left with such deformed feet that look more like hooves than feet? I have heard the expression that ‘beauty is pain’…it doesn’t have to be.

  2. Sharon May 24, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    WOW… that video really shone some light onto the foot binding! I never really knew what it looked like… or to the extent that they had to go thru! Sounds like I am going to have to give this book a read….! Thanks for posting the video though! Makes me double think about what we should do for beauty… and what really is necessary!

  3. Sara May 25, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    Thanks for sharing that video…Could you imagine what girls…starting at age 3…how sad. 😦 I agree with your mom, not very pretty at all.

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