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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 372

Helen Oyeyemi's reimagining of Snow White is full of potent quotes. Here are three to get you started, beginning with the book's opening line:

Nobody ever warned me about mirrors, so for many years I was fond of them, and believed them to be trustworthy.

Boy, Snow, Bird is a spin on the classic Snow White story, and, just like its source material, it uses mirrors as a motif. This keeps Oyeyemi's twist on the narrative grounded in the original fairy tale's roots—where appearances are extremely important—and helps draw attention to where Boy, Snow, Bird deviates or subverts the classic.

In Snow White, the Magic Mirror reassures the Evil Queen that she's "the fairest in the land" every morning, until one day she's usurped by Snow White. The Evil Queen then disguises herself as various women as she tries to hunt Snow White down and kill her so she can regain her unofficial title. In Boy, Snow, Bird, characters have myriad interactions with mirrors, like being repulsed by their reflection, seeing other things in the mirror, or simply not seeing their reflection at all.

She was poised and sympathetic, like a girl who'd just come from the future but didn't want to brag about it.

Here, Boy is describing her stepdaughter, Snow. Boy becomes infatuated with Snow after she marries Arturo, and this quote reveals how she regards Snow as not just worthy of infatuation, but also as an otherworldly presence. Boy views Snow as seemingly more than human, and she's not the only one who thinks Snow is fantastic...

Snow's beauty is all the more precious to Olivia and Agnes because it's a trick. When whites look at her, they don't get whatever fleeting, ugly impressions so many of us get when we see a colored girl—we don't see a colored girl standing there.

This quote illustrates Boy, Snow, Bird's intertwining themes of self-loathing and internalized racism. Snow isn't just pretty, she's able to "pass" as white and pretty, and her grandparents, who were the first in the family to pass, love this about her, even though it's completely superficial. This also sets her in stark contrast to Bird, whose dark complexion ultimately exposes the Whitmans' true heritage.

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