Aunt Quotes in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
"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."
"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."
"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.'"
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.