Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Aunt Character Analysis

Lily's aunt, Beautiful Moon's mother, wife to Uncle, and sister-in-law to Mama. Aunt isn't beautiful but is very kind and logical in her thinking and arguing. She comes from a learned family and teaches Lily and Beautiful Moon nu shu. She and Uncle have a good marriage, but have led generally miserable lives. Aunt has suffered a number of miscarriages and stillbirths.

Aunt Quotes in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

The Snow Flower and the Secret Fan quotes below are all either spoken by Aunt or refer to Aunt. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Women and Gender Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan published in 2006.
Daughter Days: Footbinding Quotes

"I would rather keep her on this earth unmarried than lose her forever."
"Then she would have no purpose and no value," Aunt reasoned. "Your mother love tells you this is no future."

Related Characters: Mama (speaker), Aunt (speaker), Third Sister
Related Symbols: Feet
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

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Daughter Days: Learning Quotes

"Each word must be placed in context," she reminded us each day at the end of our lesson. "Much tragedy could result from a wrong reading."

Related Characters: Aunt (speaker), Lily , Snow Flower
Related Symbols: Lily and Snow Flower's Fan
Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:

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"You married out," Mama said, in a way that seemed oddly detached. "You go to another village. Your mother-in-law is cruel. Your husband doesn't care for you. We wish you would never leave, but every daughter marries away. Everyone agrees. Everyone goes along with it. You can cry and beg to come home, we can grieve that you have gone, but you—and we—have no choice. The old saying makes this very clear: 'if a daughter doesn't marry out, she's not valuable; if fire doesn't raze the mountain, the land will not be fertile.'"

Related Characters: Mama (speaker), Lily , Aunt, Elder Sister
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:

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Rice-and-Salt Days: Into the Clouds Quotes

So much of what happened reminded me of the didactic story that Aunt used to chant about the girl who had three brothers. I now understand that we learned those songs and stories not just to teach us how to behave but because we would be living out variations of them over and over again throughout our lives.

Related Characters: Lily (speaker), Snow Flower, Aunt, Lotus, Plum Blossom, Willow
Page Number: 240
Explanation and Analysis:

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Aunt Character Timeline in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

The timeline below shows where the character Aunt appears in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Daughter Days: Milk Years
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...downstairs first, as Lily and Beautiful Moon must dress Third Sister. When they come downstairs, Aunt and Uncle greet them all affectionately, while Mama ignores them. Lily thinks on this day... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Aunt suggests that Lily and Beautiful Moon go outside. Mama tries to argue, but Aunt is... (full context)
Daughter Days: Footbinding
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
When Lily and Beautiful Moon turn six, Mama and Aunt send for Diviner Hu to select an auspicious date to begin their foot binding. Lily... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...She begins learning to sew, starts making shoes to wear during her foot binding, and Aunt starts teaching her nu shu. Lily explains the basic ideas of nu shu: it's phonetic,... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...their binding. He settles on the typical date, which is in the fall. Mama and Aunt make bandages and feed the girls soft foods to encourage their bones to be soft.... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...Lily, Beautiful Moon, and Third Sister offer the Tiny-Footed Maiden rice balls, and Mama and Aunt offer their miniature shoes to a statue of Guanyin. They gather their supplies, and Lily... (full context)
Love and Family Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
When the wrapping is finished, Mama and Aunt instruct the girls to get up. Lily's feet are throbbing, but Mama yanks her up... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...to walk again the next day, and the day after. Every fourth day, Mama and Aunt soak off the bandages and rewrap them tighter than before. As the weather gets colder,... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...bones in Lily's mid-foot break. Third Sister becomes feverish, and one day when Mama and Aunt are downstairs, Elder Sister allows Third Sister to lie down. When Elder Sister pulls up... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...even more disciplined as Beautiful Moon and Lily make sure to not resist, and Mama, Aunt, and Elder Sister vigilantly watch for infection. Lily tells the reader that she heard many... (full context)
Daughter Days: The Fan
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...summer, Elder Sister's sworn sisters meet at Lily's home for Bull Fighting Day. They beg Aunt to lead them in the call-and-respond "Story of the Woman with Three Brothers." Lily and... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
...a fan, waving away Mama's concerns about a fee. Before she leaves, Madame Wang addresses Aunt and says that Lily's laotong relationship may make it possible for Beautiful Moon to also... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
Mama and Aunt walk Madame Wang to her palanquin (a litter carried by four men) while Lily, Beautiful... (full context)
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...Mama helps Lily embroider shoes to send to Snow Flower as a first gift, and Aunt helps Lily compose a nu shu reply. Lily decides to not send her reply on... (full context)
Daughter Days: Learning
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...Lily and Beautiful Moon are happy and optimistic, and continue to learn nu shu from Aunt and Snow Flower. Aunt impresses upon them that each word must be placed in context,... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Aunt tells the girls the story of how nu shu was invented. A thousand years ago,... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Aunt explains how the woman's sisters may have figured out how to read the note, but... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...neglected to teach her domestic arts, so she shadows Lily in her chores. Mama and Aunt supervise the girls as they cook, clean, and sew. Lily thinks that Snow Flower will... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...husband. Lily and Beautiful Moon comfort her, but believe this could never happen to them. Aunt begins to speak, and says that she's lived a miserable life—she cried when she married... (full context)
Hair-Pinning Days: Beautiful Moon
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...up Beautiful Moon's body and carries her inside. Snow Flower takes control, telling Uncle that Aunt must be informed. She makes a plan to fetch Aunt and Mama, and then they... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...Moon's engorged face, she instructs Snow Flower to wrap Beautiful Moon's face in muslin so Aunt doesn't have to see it, and dress her in "eternity" (burial) clothes. When Aunt arrives,... (full context)
Hair-Pinning Days: The Flower-Sitting Chair
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mama, Aunt, Elder Sister, and other unmarried girls visit to celebrate, sing songs, and tell stories. Madame... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...veil. Lily can't see as Snow Flower leads her downstairs, but she hears Mama and Aunt. They walk to Puwei's ancestral temple and back home again, where they wait for Lily's... (full context)
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...to comfort Lily by telling her how virtuous and obedient she is. She remarks that Aunt and Uncle are very happy doing bed business, and then says that Lady Lu was... (full context)
Hair-Pinning Days: The Temple of Gupo
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...later, when Lily is at her own home, she wakes up feeling ill and vomits. Aunt gets up to wipe Lily's face and smiles. Lily writes Snow Flower to tell her... (full context)
Rice-and-Salt Days: Winter
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Snow Flower mentions Lily's aunt and says that thinking of Aunt makes her want to keep living. Snow Flower then seems to snap out of her... (full context)
Rice-and-Salt Days: Letter of Vituperation
Love and Family Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...allow them to sleep together. They also continue to travel to Puwei for festivals, where Aunt and Uncle have become beloved "grandparents" to the children of Elder Brother and Second Brother.... (full context)
Rice-and-Salt Days: Into the Clouds
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...tells the reader that what happened to her reminded her very much of the story Aunt used to tell about the woman with three brothers. Lily says that girls learn stories... (full context)