My Brilliant Fan Analysis

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“My Brilliant Friend” by Elena Ferrante and “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” by Lisa See are bildungsroman novels which follow the journeys of two young girls stuck in the lower class of patriarchal societies, who both attempt to free themselves from their confinements and achieve self-actualisation. Abraham Maslow defines self-actualisation as “the desire for self-fulfilment, namely the tendency for him (the individual) to become actualised in what he is potentially.” In his theory proposed in his 1943 paper, “A Theory Of Human Motivation”, “Maslow states that most people are motivated to seek improvements in their lives” and “The deficiency of basic needs are said to motivate people when they are unmet.” Both novels reflect an idea congruent …show more content…
Many women in the lower classes do not get the opportunity to learn nu shu, creating a divide between those women and those who know nu she and are thus considered to be more sophisticated. This is indicated in the quote, “‘The women of our village don 't value this pastime’…. This woman was illiterate in nu shu,” (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan,p.172) where Lily meets a group of women from a lower class family who are illiterate. Lily dedicated her time to learning nu shu as it is this knowledge that will help her rise above her status. In contrast to My Brilliant Friend, In Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lily attempts to transcend the boundaries of her class through her ‘perfect feet’ and knowledge of household duties. The quote “My goal was to achieve a pair of perfectly bound feet with seven distinct attributes…if i could do all that then happiness would be my reward” (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, p.26) demonstrates how this achievement would allow Lily to rise classes. Knowledge of how to run a home and be a good daughter-in-law would give her increased status. Although this is also emancipation through education, it is a different form of education. Lily’s perfect feet and knowledge of woman and motherhood allow her family to reap the rewards of money, as the rich family she marries into supports her natal family. SYNTHESIS

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