Length: 2-3 pgs. (MLA in-text/work cited for Snow Flower and the Secret Fan/Joy Luck Club if film used) 5 par. minimum
In reading Lisa See’s novel, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, is a novel written in 2005, our own time, but we travel back with the author to discover her own history and analyze Chinese proscribed gender separation in the 19th century. We therefore witness the deep roots women’s communities had in 19th-century Chinese culture (the world of the “upstairs chamber”/inner realm), and only witness a smattering of men’s “outer realm” in Part Two: during the Rebellion.
In viewing the 1993 film adaptation of Amy Tan’s 1989 novel (Amy Tan co-wrote the screenplay), pay attention to 20th-century continuations of proscribed ‘female’ roles the 4 mothers retain AND waves of feminism in American culture that the 4 daughters represent.
For this response essay, select ONE of the following topics:
1. Choose 2 specific coming-of-age moments for Lily and/or Snow Flower that are either parallel or are markedly different from those of people in your own culture.
Cite specific actions/letters/conversations. For your conclusion, compare/contrast the specific details from the novel with your own experience or family story and reflect on the following question: How do cultural distinctions impact universal “self knowledge”?
2. Mother/daughter connections and conflicts ca. 1820-1990: Lisa See novel and film adaptation of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club. For this option, the generational cultural conflicts will involve another layer of complications: immigrant conflicts between homeland traditions/American perspectives. Ultimately, how does Amy Tan’s perspective on mothers/daughters depict culture-specific Chinese values? Do the conflicts in her storytelling transcend Chinese/Chinese-American generational conflicts? You can include parallels/contrasts to your own culture here if you wish: your choice!
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