Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

The matchmaker who binds Lily and Snow Flower as laotong and later arranges their marriages, as well as that of Beautiful Moon. Lily never likes Madame Wang and sees her as gaudy and hawkish. Upon Snow Flower's marriage, Lily learns that Madame Wang is actually Snow Flower's aunt. Madame Wang's love for Snow Flower means that she negotiated the best marriage she could for her, and was further willing to follow Lily's instructions to pay village girls to attend Snow Flower's wedding ceremonies. Late in life, Lily sees Madame Wang as a woman who made the best of her life, was a shrewd businesswoman, and did very well for herself.
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Madame Wang Character Timeline in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

The timeline below shows where the character Madame Wang appears in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Daughter Days: Footbinding
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...women rise early to make special tea and cakes. When Diviner Hu arrives, he has Madame Wang with him from Tongkou, rather than the local matchmaker. Lily says that the situation must... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
Madame Wang settles herself and then asks to see Lily. Lily studies her family members' faces, all... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
When Madame Wang reclaims her seat, Diviner Hu says that Lily's feet are underdeveloped, and so Mama needs... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...and Baba never looks at her the same way, since now she is possibly useful. Madame Wang visits periodically over the following year, but only views Lily as a means to profit. (full context)
Daughter Days: The Fan
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
The following day, Madame Wang visits. Lily feels pressured to make a good impression, as her family needs the money... (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 Moon, and Elder... (full context)
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...fan and the shoes, she worries that Snow Flower's family won't accept the relationship. When Madame Wang sees the fan, though, she states that it's a perfect match and that the girls... (full context)
Daughter Days: Snow Flower
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
A few days later Mama carries Lily, dressed simply, to Madame Wang 's waiting palanquin, where Snow Flower is sitting. Snow Flower is very pretty and wears... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
Madame Wang returns and calls Lily and Snow Flower out of the palanquin. They're next to a... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...up a brush and begins to write. Both girls sign their names at the bottom. Madame Wang announces that she's pleased, and counsels the girls to not let other girls come between... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
Lily feels extremely happy as she walks back to the palanquin with Snow Flower and Madame Wang . The palanquin takes them to the center of the market, where Madame Wang gives... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
When Lily and Snow Flower return to the palanquin, Snow Flower begs Madame Wang to take them to the taro stand. Madame Wang resists but gives in, and at... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
For the return trip, Madame Wang allows Lily and Snow Flower to sit next to each other, and the two giggle,... (full context)
Love and Family Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
When they arrive at Lily's house, Madame Wang bids goodbye to both of them. Lily is ecstatic that Snow Flower is staying, but... (full context)
Daughter Days: Love
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Lily writes and embroiders notes to Snow Flower, passed through Madame Wang . While Lily writes "little-girl things," Snow Flower responds with messages of birds, flight, and... (full context)
Daughter Days: Learning
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
...why she never visits Snow Flower in Tongkou, until she's nine and overhears Mama ask Madame Wang about it. Madame Wang states that Snow Flower's family is suffering from Lily's low status,... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...is far from over, however, as Lily's laotong relationship means that the existing rivalry between Madame Wang and Madame Gao is heightened. Madame Gao offers her services to Snow Flower's family to... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...smallest, Snow Flower's are slightly larger, and Beautiful Moon's are even bigger—but she's still marriageable. Madame Wang negotiates Contracting a Kin for the three girls. Lily is set to marry into the... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Madame Gao and Madame Wang frequently visit Lily's family, and the battle between the two escalates. One day, Madame Gao... (full context)
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Madame Wang is silent for a moment and then calls Lily to her, and tells her that... (full context)
Hair-Pinning Days: Beautiful Moon
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
Madame Wang arrives and asks how she can help. When she sees Beautiful Moon's engorged face, she... (full context)
Hair-Pinning Days: The Flower-Sitting Chair
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...Aunt, Elder Sister, and other unmarried girls visit to celebrate, sing songs, and tell stories. Madame Wang visits and tells "The Tale of Wife Wang." The story tells of a woman who... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
...her virtuousness, her entire family is allowed to enter nirvana. Lily says that she believed Madame Wang told this story to tell Lily about her future, as her husband might be impulsive... (full context)
Love and Family Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
Madame Wang introduces Lily's parents to their future in-laws. Lily's parents host a banquet at the ancestral... (full context)
Love and Family Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...sex and Lily's body. Late at night, fireworks are set off and everyone goes home. Madame Wang closes the door to the wedding chamber and leaves Lily and her husband alone. (full context)
Hair-Pinning Days: Truth
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
...unbound feet), but “Auntie Wang” saved her by binding her feet. Lily is aghast that Madame Wang is Snow Flower's aunt. Snow Flower says that Auntie Wang began searching for a laotong... (full context)
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...needs these practical skills. Snow Flower admits that her husband's family are butchers. Lily remembers Madame Wang 's story "The Tale of Wife Wang," and realizes it wasn't meant for her. Lily... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
When Madame Wang arrives, Lily sends her to her natal home to fetch food and cloth. She asks... (full context)
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
Madame Wang arrives the next day with three farmers' daughters. Lily leads them in writing third-day wedding... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Madame Wang and Lily watch Snow Flower disappear, and Lily asks if she (Lily) was truly a... (full context)
Hair-Pinning Days: The Temple of Gupo
Love and Family Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...get funny looks about her potential infertility as the year goes on. Several months later, Madame Wang delivers a letter to Lily from Snow Flower, saying that she's pregnant. Lily is humiliated... (full context)
Rice-and-Salt Days: Sons
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
One day, Madame Wang delivers a letter to Lily from Snow Flower. Snow Flower writes that her in-laws forced... (full context)
Rice-and-Salt Days: Letter of Vituperation
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...She repeats what Mama told her about a lady letting no ugliness into her life. Madame Wang visits Lily several months later. Lily knows that Madame Wang is a shrewd businesswoman, but... (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 doesn't offer Madame Wang tea and tells her it's too early to find Jade a marriage match. Madame Wang... (full context)
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Lily tosses the fan at Madame Wang . Madame Wang agrees to pass the message to Snow Flower, and then kindly says... (full context)
Love and Family Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...on attending together, Lily hopes that Snow Flower won't come. However, both Snow Flower and Madame Wang are in attendance. Lily sits across the circle and participates in the singing and chanting. (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
...against Mama and ignores Snow Flower. Snow Flower gets up and leaves, and not even Madame Wang follows her. (full context)
Rice-and-Salt Days: Into the Clouds
Love and Family Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...Snow Flower's vomit later. Lily calls her diviner, who leads Lily, the sworn sisters, and Madame Wang in prayers and songs to ward off evil spirits. It doesn't help, and Lily vows... (full context)
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...Snow Flower's skin turns golden and she finally stops breathing, surrounded by Lily, Spring Moon, Madame Wang , and the sworn sisters. (full context)
Sitting Quietly: Regret
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
...the daughter of Snow Flower's son. Lily's husband obliged her wishes, and Lily sent for Madame Wang when the girl's feet were about to be bound. Madame Wang looked very old, and... (full context)