Memoirs of a Geisha

Nicknamed “Pumpkin” by Sayuri because of her round head, Pumpkin grows up with Sayuri in the okiya. Compassionate but a little slow-witted, Pumpkin struggles to make it as a geisha. With Hatsumomo as her mentor, she also absorbs some of Hatsumomo’s vicious cruelty. After spending some hard years as a prostitute during World War Two, Pumpkin tries to sabotage Sayuri’s relationship with the Chairman in order to get back at Sayuri for succeeding where she herself failed.

Pumpkin Quotes in Memoirs of a Geisha

The Memoirs of a Geisha quotes below are all either spoken by Pumpkin or refer to Pumpkin. 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:
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Memoirs of a Geisha published in 1999.
Chapter 4 Quotes

“I’ve found a place to spend my life. I'll work as hard as I have to so they don't send me away. But I'd sooner throw myself off a cliff than spoil my chances to be a geisha like Hatsumomo.”

Related Characters: Pumpkin (speaker), Sayuri Nitta / Chiyo Sakamoto, Hatsumomo
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:

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Pumpkin Character Timeline in Memoirs of a Geisha

The timeline below shows where the character Pumpkin appears in Memoirs of a Geisha. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
...a bucket of water. Because of the girl’s plump head, Chiyo decides to call her Pumpkin, a nickname that will stick with the girl even into her old age. Auntie shoos... (full context)
Chapter 4
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
...a month after arriving at the okiya, Chiyo begins her training as a geisha. Since Pumpkin started her training six months earlier, Pumpkin shows Chiyo the way to the school for... (full context)
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
At school, Pumpkin takes Chiyo to the classes. Chiyo looks around for Satsu but doesn’t find her. In... (full context)
Chapter 11
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
...if she hopes to ever turn Chiyo into a successful geisha. Hatsumomo even says that Pumpkin, who is Hatsumomo’s younger sister, will be a better geisha after she has “sharpened her... (full context)
Chapter 12
Growing Up Theme Icon
At the beginning of her training, Chiyo and Pumpkin practice shamisen together at the okiya everyday, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. But one... (full context)
Chapter 13
Growing Up Theme Icon
...1934, after Chiyo has been training for two years, Mother decides that it’s time for Pumpkin to make her debut as an apprentice geisha. Dressed in the kimono of the apprentice,... (full context)
Chapter 14
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
...about “the beautiful tinkling sound more lovely than a waterfall.” After Mameha concludes the story, Pumpkin and Hatsumomo come into the teahouse and sit down with the group. (full context)
Chapter 15
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
The next night, Mameha and Sayuri go to another party, but Hatsumomo and Pumpkin show up shortly after they arrive. Mameha and Sayuri leave so that Hatsumomo won’t have... (full context)
Chapter 19
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
A few months later, Hatsumomo brags to Sayuri that she and Pumpkin will be leading the German Ambassador around Gion. Feeling satisfied that she has been tricking... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
Distressed that her plan is falling apart, Mameha tells Sayuri to ask Pumpkin how Hatsumomo found out about Dr. Crab. Sayuri asks why they need the Doctor’s help... (full context)
Chapter 20
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
On the night Sayuri has this conversation with Mameha, she stays up until Pumpkin and Hatsumomo come home from entertaining. Hatsumomo tells Pumpkin to go out and buy her... (full context)
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
Pumpkin says that Hatsumomo suspected that Sayuri and Mameha were planning something when Sayuri didn’t seem... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Sayuri thanks Pumpkin for the info. Sayuri apologizes that Pumpkin is stuck with Hatsumomo as an older sister.... (full context)
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
At Mameha’s apartment the next day, Sayuri tells her what Pumpkin said. Mameha says that if they convince the Doctor that Hatsumomo was lying, then perhaps... (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
...upcoming spring Kyoto dance performance. Mameha says that Hatsumomo hoped the role would go to Pumpkin. Mameha says she is willing to stake her reputation on Sayuri’s honor, and that the... (full context)
Chapter 23
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
...Sayuri that Mother wants to see her. As Sayuri goes to Mother’s room, she sees Pumpkin coming out in tears. (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
...day inherit the okiya. Though Sayuri isn’t sure why Mother changed her mind about adopting Pumpkin, she still feels very excited. (full context)
Chapter 27
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...Mother tells Sayuri that in the last six months she has earned more than either Pumpkin or Hatsumomo. Mother says that this means it’s time for Sayuri to get Hatsumomo’s bigger... (full context)
Chapter 30
Sex and Love Theme Icon
...come to her next party with Sato. Mameha agrees, and also suggests that Sayuri bring Pumpkin. Though Sayuri hasn’t seen Pumpkin since before the war, Sayuri thinks of her often, feeling... (full context)
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
The next afternoon, Sayuri arrives at Pumpkin’s okiya. Sayuri tries to hug her, but Pumpkin pulls away and gives her a very... (full context)
Chapter 31
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
...her that she is still a beautiful woman, but before they have time to talk, Pumpkin and Mameha arrive. (full context)
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Pumpkin is wearing a beautiful kimono that she says she rented from the another okiya. When... (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
...drinking game where everyone goes around telling two stories – one truth and one lie. Pumpkin tells funny, ribald stories and the men seem to be having a good time. When... (full context)
Chapter 32
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
...brings Sato to Gion on a weekly basis to drink and talk with Sayuri, Mameha, Pumpkin, and the Chairman. During these months, Sayuri sees more of the Chairman than ever before.... (full context)
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
One evening in February, Pumpkin comes down with the flu and is unable to join them at the teahouse. To... (full context)
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
After Sayuri finishes the dance and sits back down, the Chairman asks about Pumpkin. Mameha says that she is ill and won’t be joining them tonight. The Chairman glances... (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
One night a few months later, Pumpkin, Mameha, and the Chairman cannot attend the party, so Sayuri entertains Nobu and Sato alone.... (full context)
Chapter 33
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...as her danna. Mother also says that Nobu and the Chairman have arranged for Sato, Pumpkin, Mameha, and her to fly this coming Friday to a small resort island near Okinawa... (full context)
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
...to bring Sato to the abandoned theater that night. All she needs is Mameha or Pumpkin to bring Nobu to the spot and have him open the theater door, catching Sayuri... (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
...plan, Sayuri walks back to her room in a daze. In the room, she finds Pumpkin and asks her to bring Nobu inside the old theater at sunset. Sayuri says that... (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
Though Sayuri doesn’t know if this means that Pumpkin has agreed to help, she decides to go through with the plan and hope that... (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
...to push him off when she hears the door open and sees in the doorway Pumpkin and the Chairman. (full context)
Chapter 34
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
...next thing she remembers is being back in bed at the inn. When she sees Pumpkin come inside the room, Sayuri asks why she brought the Chairman and not Nobu. Pumpkin... (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
...affection for Sayuri a secret. But that all changed after seeing her with Sato. When Pumpkin took him to the theater, he angrily demanded why she would bring him there. Pumpkin... (full context)