29+ quotes from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Quotes from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Lisa See ·  269 pages

Rating: (304.2K votes)


“Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“I am old enough to know only too well my good and bad qualities, which were often one in the same.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“For my entire life I longed for love. I knew it was not right for me — as a girl and later as a woman — to want or expect it, but I did, and this unjustified desire has been at the root of every problem I have experienced in my life.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“Anyone who says that women do not have influence in men's decisions makes a vast and stupid mistake.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“Obey, obey, obey, then do what you want.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“When I knew I couldn't suffer another moment of pain, and tears fell on my bloody bindings, my mother spoke softly into my ear, encouraging me to go one more hour, one more day, one more week, reminding me of the rewards I would have if I carried on a little longer. In this way, she taught me how to endure — not just the physical trials of footbinding and childbearing but the more torturous pain of the heart, mind, and soul.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“In our country we call this type of mother love teng ai. My son has told me that in men's writing it is composed of two characters. The first means pain; the second means love. That is a mother's love.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“The classics tell us that, in relationships, the one between teacher and student comes second only to the one between parent and child.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“You may be desperate, but never let anyone see you as anything less than a cultivated woman.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“The Story of the Woman with Three Brothers"

A woman once had three brothers. They all had wives, but she was not married. Though she was virtuous and hardworking, her brothers would not offer a dowry. How unhappy she was! What could she do?

She's so miserable, she goes to the garden and hangs herself from a tree.

The eldest brother walks through the garden and pretends not to see her. The second brother walks through the garden and pretends not to see that she's dead. The third brother sees her, bursts into tears, and takes her body inside.

A woman once had three brothers. When she died, no one wanted to care for her body. Though she had been virtuous and hardworking, her brothers would not serve her. How cruel this was! What would happen?

She is ignored in death as in life, until her body begins to stink.

The eldest brother gives one piece of cloth to cover her body. The second brother gives two pieces of cloth. The third brother wraps her in as many clothes as possible so she'll be warm in the afterworld.

A woman once had three brothers. Now dressed for her future as a spirit, her brothers won't spend any money on a coffin. Though she was virtuous and hardworking, her brothers are stingy. How unfair this was! Would she ever find rest?

All alone, all alone, she plans her haunting days.

The eldest brother says, "We don't need to bury her in a box. She is fine the way she is." The second brother says, "We could use that old box in the shed." The third brother says, "This is all the money I have. I will go and buy her a coffin."

A woman once had three brothers. They have come so far, but what will happen to Sister now? Elder brother- mean in spirit; Second brother- cold in heart; but in Third brother love may come through.

Elder brother says, "Let's bury her here by the water buffalo road." (meaning she would be trampled for all eternity) Second brother says, "Let's bury her here under the bridge." (meaning she would wash away) But third brother - good in heart, filial in all ways - says, "We will bury her behind the house so everyone will remember her.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“There is no life without death. That is the true meaning of yin and yang”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“In every message she spoke of birds, of flight, of the world away. Even back then, she flew against what was presented to her. I wanted to cling to her wings and soar, no matter how intimidated I was.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“a laotong relationship is made by choice...when we first looked in each other's eyes in the palanquin I felt something special pass between us--like a spark to start a fire or a seed to grow rice. But a single spark is not enough to warm a room nor is a single seed enough to grow a fruitful crop. Deep love--true-heart love--must grow.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“I am old enough to know only too well my good and bad qualities, which were often one and the same. For my entire life I longed for love. I knew it was not right for me - as a girl and later as a woman - to want or expect it, but I did, and this unjustified desire has been at the root of every problem I have experienced in my life.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“I am still learning about love. I thought I understood it--not just mother love, but the love for one's parents, for one's husband, and for one's laotong. I've experienced the other types of love--pity love, respectful love and gratitude love. But looking at our secret fan with its messages written between Snow Flower and me over many years, I see that I didn't value the most important love--deep-heart love.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“I know a lot about women and their suffering, but I still know almost nothing about men.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“المرأة قد تكون يائسة ولكن لا ينبغي عليها أبدا ان تسمح لأحد برؤيتها في مستوى أقل من مستوى المرأة الراقية”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“I’ve never thought much about whether I was happy or if I had fun as a child. I was a so-so girl who lived with a so-so family in a so-so village. I didn’t know that there might be another way to live, and I didn’t worry about it either.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“Snow Flower was my old same for life. I had a greater and deeper love for her than I could ever feel for a person who was my husband.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“All these types of love come out of duty, respect, and gratitude. Most of them, as the women in my county know, are sources of sadness, rupture, and brutality.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“Our words had to be circumspect. We could not write anything too negative about our circumstances. This was tricky, since the very form of a married woman's letter needed to include the usual complaints -- that we were pathetic, powerless, worked to the bone, homesick, and sad. We were supposed to speak directly about our feelings without appearing ungrateful, no-account, or unfilial.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“When I knew I couldn't suffer another moment of pain, and tears fell on my bloody bindings, my mother spoke softly into my ear, encouraging me to go one more hour, one more day, one more week, reminding me of the rewards I would have if I carried on a little longer. In this way, she taught me how to endure--not just the physical trials of footbinding and childbearing but the more tortuous pain of the heart, mind, and soul. She was also pointing out my defects and teaching me how to use them to my benefit. In our country, we call this type of mother love teng ai. My son has told me that in men's writing it is composed of two characters. The first means pain; the second means love. That is a mother's love.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“Then it dawned on me that men throughout the country had to know about nu shu (women's written word). How could they not? They wore it on their embroidered shoes. They saw us weaving our messages into cloth. They heard us singing our songs and showing off our third-day wedding books. Men just considered our writing beneath them.

It is said men have the hearts of iron, while women are made of water. This comes through men's writing and women's writing. Men's writing has more than 50,000 characters, each uniquely different, each with deep meanings and nuances. Our women's writing has 600 characters, which we use phonetically, like babies to create about 10,000 words. Men's writing takes a lifetime to learn and understand. Women's writing is something we pick up as girls, and we rely on the context to coax meaning. Men write about the outer realm of literature, accounts, and crop yields; women write about the inner realm of children, daily chores, and emotions. The men in the Lu household were proud of their wives' fluency in nu shu and dexterity in embroidery, though these things had as much importance to survival as a pig's fart.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“Anyone who tells you that the Yao people never care for their daughters is lying. We may be worthless. We may be raised for another family. But often we are loved and cherished, despite our natal families' best efforts not to have feelings for us.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“The three most important powers are Heaven, Earth and Man. The three luminaries are the Sun, the Moon and the Stars. Opportunities given by Heaven are not equal to the advantages afforded by Earth, while the advantages of Earth do not match the blessings that come from harmony among men”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“The problem with living so long is that you see too many people pass before you.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“I have a whole life to tell; I have nothing left to lose and few to offend.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“تلك كانت المرة الأولى التي ارى فيها تلك الإيماءة التي كانت تعني أننا كنا عاجزين عن منع روح أحد نحبه من المغادرة إلى عالم الأرواح. يمكننا ان نحارب الموت, ولكنه حالما يقبض على أحدهم فلا شيء يمكن فعله بعد ذلك.”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


“أنت التي كنت تعرفين قلبي، لاتعرفين شيئًا عني الآن.سأحرق كل كلماتك آملة أن تتبخر نحو الغيوم. أنت التي خدعتني وتخليت عني، رحلت عن قلبي إلى الأبد. من فضلك, من فضلك, دعيني وشأني”
― Lisa See, quote from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


About the author

Lisa See
Born place: Paris, France
See more on GoodReads

Popular quotes

“I'm sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey


“But his heart, strangely enough, told him something else.”
― Cornelia Funke, quote from Muerte de tinta


“Paradise
----------

A glowing dawn, a sweet, ripe peach,
A blue sea lapping on the beach.
A hint of spring, a dewy rose
Whose scent assails an eager nose.
Beauty now at every sight.
A feast for senses to delight.

A darkened cell, the fear of night,
A mistral blows with all its might.
A winter's chill in barren land,
The bitter cold through frozen hand.
Beauty now has closed its door.
And swept away for distant shore.

A touch of cheek, a lingered kiss
So soft remembered, soon to miss.
A tender arm around me thrown,
The beauty of a heart's true home.
In black despair, a shooting star,
For Paradise is where you are.”
― Lucinda Riley, quote from The Light Behind the Window


“You may be sure that if you succeed in bringing your audience into the presence of something that affects them, they will not care by what road you brought them there; and they will never reproach you for having excited their emotions in spite of dramatic rules.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville, quote from De la Démocratie en Amérique, tome II


“God wanted to make heaven and the earth is that heaven. Nowhere in the universe there is so much love, life, beauty and peace. Enjoy your stay with the fellow beings.”
― Amit Ray, quote from Nonviolence: The Transforming Power


Interesting books

Zoo
(33.5K)
Zoo
by James Patterson
Looking for Alaska / An Abundance of Katherines / Paper Towns / The Fault in Our Stars
(4.7K)
Looking for Alaska /...
by John Green
Bitter Blood
(11.9K)
Bitter Blood
by Rachel Caine
Married By Morning
(26.4K)
Married By Morning
by Lisa Kleypas
The Son
(15.8K)
The Son
by Veronica Roth
Close Range
(13K)
Close Range
by Annie Proulx

About BookQuoters

BookQuoters is a community of passionate readers who enjoy sharing the most meaningful, memorable and interesting quotes from great books. As the world communicates more and more via texts, memes and sound bytes, short but profound quotes from books have become more relevant and important. For some of us a quote becomes a mantra, a goal or a philosophy by which we live. For all of us, quotes are a great way to remember a book and to carry with us the author’s best ideas.

We thoughtfully gather quotes from our favorite books, both classic and current, and choose the ones that are most thought-provoking. Each quote represents a book that is interesting, well written and has potential to enhance the reader’s life. We also accept submissions from our visitors and will select the quotes we feel are most appealing to the BookQuoters community.

Founded in 2018, BookQuoters has quickly become a large and vibrant community of people who share an affinity for books. Books are seen by some as a throwback to a previous world; conversely, gleaning the main ideas of a book via a quote or a quick summary is typical of the Information Age but is a habit disdained by some diehard readers. We feel that we have the best of both worlds at BookQuoters; we read books cover-to-cover but offer you some of the highlights. We hope you’ll join us.