Chinese Cinderella

Chinese Cinderella

Big Brother (Gregory) Character Analysis

Big Brother is eldest son of Father’s first marriage, stepson of Niang, and second eldest of the stepchildren. Though he is occasionally kind to Adeline, Big Brother is most often depicted as a mean and selfish prankster, though he does share some kinship with his own brothers. When Father decides that he wants to watch his dog kill one of the children’s pet ducklings, Big Brother picks Adeline’s since he knows she will not retaliate, demonstrating his cowardice and further showing how a toxic family can condition children to be cruel to each other. Big Brother is also initially the most defiant to Niang’s mistreatment, though he is the first to be sent to study overseas, and so he receives the earliest escape, thus having less presence in the memoir.

Big Brother (Gregory) Quotes in Chinese Cinderella

The Chinese Cinderella quotes below are all either spoken by Big Brother (Gregory) or refer to Big Brother (Gregory). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Physical and Emotional Abuse Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Ember edition of Chinese Cinderella published in 2010.
Chapter 1: Top of the Class Quotes

“But then Mama died giving birth to you. If you had not been born, Mama would still be alive. She died because of you. You are bad luck.”

Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 5: Arrival in Shanghai Quotes

As we climbed the stairs, Big Brother muttered, “To her, we are not separate people. Here we have become one single unit known as all of you. Seems like this is how it’s going to be from now on.”

Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 9: Chinese New Year Quotes

We began to question Third Brother’s sanity—had he imagined that Niang overheard us?—but he stuck to his story. “Perhaps,” he suggested darkly, “we’re being kept deliberately in a state of uncertainty because that’s what Niang most enjoys. The cat-and-mouse game.”

Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 10: Shanghai School Days Quotes

Did Third Brother truly understand what he was up against? By wanting to have things both ways and straddling the fence, was he aware that each compromise would chip away at his integrity? ... It was the loss of the nicest parts of Third Brother that saddened me.

Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 11: PLT Quotes

“Since it’s so hot tonight,” Father suggested, “why don’t we all cool off in the garden after dinner? It will also give us a a chance to test Jackie’s obedience.” He turned to Big Brother. “Go fetch one of those ducklings…We’ll have some fun tonight!”

Related Symbols: PLT
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Big Brother (Gregory) Character Timeline in Chinese Cinderella

The timeline below shows where the character Big Brother (Gregory) appears in Chinese Cinderella. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5: Arrival in Shanghai
Physical and Emotional Abuse Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Self-Worth Theme Icon
Toxic Family Theme Icon
...visit anyone else’s house. The stepchildren are bitter at this new standard of living and Big Brother remarks that Niang does not even see the them as individual people, but merely as... (full context)
Chapter 6: First Day at School
Physical and Emotional Abuse Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Self-Worth Theme Icon
Toxic Family Theme Icon
...a telephone and, having memorized her home phone number through a game she played with Big Brother , calls Father. Father picks up, seemingly unworried, and Adeline’s heart sinks as she realizes... (full context)
Chapter 10: Shanghai School Days
Physical and Emotional Abuse Theme Icon
Toxic Family Theme Icon
...their friends, eat whenever they please, and the brothers start taking an interest in girls. Big Brother feels so emboldened that he steals sixteen eggs from the cook (which Niang has forbidden... (full context)
Chapter 11: PLT
Physical and Emotional Abuse Theme Icon
Toxic Family Theme Icon
...he wants to “have some fun” with Jackie in the garden this evening, and orders Big Brother to go select one of the pet ducklings. The stepchildren are horrified, but Big Brother... (full context)
Physical and Emotional Abuse Theme Icon
Toxic Family Theme Icon
...while Father is walking Jackie for the morning. On her way out, Adeline stumbles into Big Brother who gives a vague half-apology, saying that he picked PLT because Adeline wouldn’t enact retribution.... (full context)
Chapter 20: Pneumonia
Coming of Age and Self-Worth Theme Icon
...where the Communists have not yet been as cruel as everyone feared. Second Brother and Big Brother have both gone to college in England, which Adeline wishes she could do, as well,... (full context)