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The Hundred Secret Senses

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Jelaine Howard

on 9 December 2013

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Transcript of The Hundred Secret Senses

The Hundred Secret Senses
Olivia- Half Chinese with an American mother. At a young age her father dies and then finds out that she has a half sister in China.
Yin Eyes
Kwan shares how she lived with Christian missionaries in the 1800s in China and befriended an American named Miss Banner. She was a loyal friend to Miss Banner.

Miss Banner turns out to be Olivia in her past life and finally Olivia remembers everything.
Which would explain the reason they were sisters in the current life.
Themes: Love
Olivia never stood up for Kwan when people made fun of her accent and poked fun at her “abnormalities” just because she was different than Americans.
Olivia always pushed Kwan away her entire life until it is too late. When Kwan helps find Olivia’s husband Simon, lost in a cave on a trip they took to China, Kwan goes missing and is never again found.

Kwan- Olivia's older half sister from China that came to live with the family and is portrayed as embarrassing and irritating.
Kwan reveals to Olivia that she has "Yin Eyes" -which allows her to speak and see ghosts of the departed.
Once people passed on, their spirits would go to the World of Yin and remain there until they reincarnate.
Kwan narrates the story of her past life to Olivia who often times would find it hard to believe the stories.

The Book is narrated by both Olivia and Kwan
Olivia then realizes how much she truly loved and cared for Kwan. You must appreciate what you have in life because one day it will be gone and you won’t be able to tell that person how much you respected them and loved them all along.
You must except people for who they are and not give in to society’s stereotypes. Respect the ones that have cared for you and give back to them what they have given to you.


Love is one of the main themes in this novel. Olivia always desires love and affection from her mother which she never seems to receive.
Her half-sister Kwan becomes a mother figure to Olivia and Olivia resents her for this because she never has gotten the love she wanted from her own mother.
Kwan always accepts Olivia for who she is and gives her unconditional love.
Themes: Culture
Never forget your heritage and where you come from. Olivia never had much respect for her Chinese heritage.
Her mother was white and her father was Chinese but she was raised in America and her culture was lost over the years she grew up and became Americanized.
Her half-sister Kwan helped Olivia realize that she is proud to be Chinese and she taught her about Chinese Culture including Kwan’s “Yin Eyes” meaning she could converse with the dead.
Although Olivia grew up in the modern Western culture she is still half Chinese and at a time she didn’t care to know anything about her families heritage.

Themes: Love
Themes: Loyalty
Loyalty is another major theme. Kwan was there for Olivia through-out her life although she treated Kwan with disrespect.
Kwan always was loyal to Olivia even when Olivia placed Kwan into a mental hospital she still didn’t hold a grudge nor did she ever look down on Olivia.
When Kwan helps find Olivia’s husband she vanishes and the search party never finds her. In this moment Olivia realizes she should have shown the same loyalty towards Kwan and she did to her.
God-Worshipers and Jesus Worshipers
Used the sacred Chinese almanac
Believed in ancestors
“Fishers of Men” unlike the Punti who believed they would be responsible for intervening in fate

Passed out pamphlets in Chinese to illiterate people
Church every Sunday
Miscommunication between the missionaries and the Hakka because they didn’t speak Chinese
The Afterlife
People who believed in different religions went to special places for them
Those who believed in nothing could try out all of the worlds
The World of Yin
Changing Views
As a child and adolescent she had very Catholic ideas of the afterlife. Heaven, Hell, Purgatory
In college she began to contemplate the lives of non-Christians and what was just. Eventually believing in nothing
Reincarnation & the World of Yin
Reserved for those who were not done living. People with regrets, and those who missed their families, friends, and lovers.
The World of Yin is a waiting world. You wait for your next self to be born. There are different times of waiting depending on what you want in your next life. Olivia, Simon, and Kwan waited 92 years. 1864
Journey to China
Kwan, Simon, and Olivia travel to China. In order to discover Olivia's Chinese heritage, her past life, mend her relationship with Kwan
In the process, she also rekindles her marriage with Simon due to Kwan's sacrifice.
Simon- Half Chinese and Olivia's soon to be ex-husband.
Full transcript