Why Pride and Prejudice? Because both ruled and warped the Chinese lives -- especially their inner lives. The historian and social observer in me recognizes that conditions in those times were difficult, sometimes brutal, and a more relaxed society might not have been able to dominate the elements or survived. Still. The physical and emotional claudrophobia that ruled the society were soul-deadening.
It occurs to me that the rigidity, ritual, and rigor of the lives of the Chinese women, and the rules that guarranteed men's absolute power over women, eliminated the possibility that men could be loved. They could be admired, they could be venerated, and they could be feared, but they could not be loved as human beings. Not one man in this book is loved. Boys are loved - but not even boys who might be less than strong and commanding. Much as I abhor and pity the lives of the women, I have to wonder how the men survived without any outlet whatsoever for their anima.
Some women found ways to love each other, although even those relationships were governed by commerce and their families' desire for status. The love of women, and the nu shu language women developed to express that love, were true miracles in that society. As always, I am awed by the strength and adaptability of women. Despite their differences, despite misunderstandings and secrets, Lily and Snow Flower were soulmates and sisters, made more beautiful and powerful by their love.
Lisa See has written an amazing book. That's all I can say. Amazing.