Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Daughter of Mama and Baba, and Lily's older sister. She is quiet and compassionate, which leads her to discover Third Sister's septic shock after allowing her to lie down and rest during foot binding. She marries into a family where she's not treated well, but not so badly that it's not considered normal or to be expected.

Elder Sister Quotes in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

The Snow Flower and the Secret Fan quotes below are all either spoken by Elder Sister or refer to Elder Sister. 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:
Women and Gender Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan published in 2006.
Daughter Days: Learning Quotes

"You married out," Mama said, in a way that seemed oddly detached. "You go to another village. Your mother-in-law is cruel. Your husband doesn't care for you. We wish you would never leave, but every daughter marries away. Everyone agrees. Everyone goes along with it. You can cry and beg to come home, we can grieve that you have gone, but you—and we—have no choice. The old saying makes this very clear: 'if a daughter doesn't marry out, she's not valuable; if fire doesn't raze the mountain, the land will not be fertile.'"

Related Characters: Mama (speaker), Lily , Aunt, Elder Sister
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Elder Sister Character Timeline in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

The timeline below shows where the character Elder Sister appears in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Daughter Days: Milk Years
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
...around her. She describes waking up with a tickle in her brain—she’s been sleeping between Elder Sister and Third Sister, while her cousin, Beautiful Moon, sleeps across the room. Lily and her... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
Mama calls up the stairs and the girls wake up. Elder Sister goes downstairs first, as Lily and Beautiful Moon must dress Third Sister. When they come... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
...inconsequential, worthless daughter. This makes Lily crave Mama’s attention, but she vows to be like Elder Sister and be helpful. Mama tells Lily to help Grandmother, which tries Lily's desire to be... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...home for lunch, and in the afternoon, Lily is allowed upstairs in the women's chamber. Elder Sister 's sworn sisters (contracted friends from the village) arrive to embroider and chat. (full context)
Daughter Days: Footbinding
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...neighbor's house and berate her. When they return to the women's chamber, Aunt, Grandmother, and Elder Sister hold Third Sister down while Mama wraps her feet. Third Sister screams the entire time. (full context)
Love and Family Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...Lily's feet are throbbing, but Mama yanks her up and tells her to walk. Mama, Elder Sister , and Aunt lead Lily, Beautiful Moon, and Third Sister back and forth across the... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...mid-foot break. Third Sister becomes feverish, and one day when Mama and Aunt are downstairs, Elder Sister allows Third Sister to lie down. When Elder Sister pulls up Third Sister's pant leg... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...disciplined as Beautiful Moon and Lily make sure to not resist, and Mama, Aunt, and Elder Sister vigilantly watch for infection. Lily tells the reader that she heard many sayings during those... (full context)
Daughter Days: The Fan
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...negotiate “Contracting a Kin” (the first step of arranging a marriage) for Elder Brother and Elder Sister . Elder Sister will marry out to a better family in a faraway village, but... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
In late summer, Elder Sister 's sworn sisters meet at Lily's home for Bull Fighting Day. They beg Aunt to... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...Wang to her palanquin (a litter carried by four men) while Lily, Beautiful Moon, and Elder Sister chatter excitedly. Elder Sister asks what the fan says, but Lily can't read all the... (full context)
Daughter Days: Snow Flower
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...her fingers in the bowl of wash water and puts on a sleeping garment of Elder Sister 's. Mama tucks the girls into bed and whispers to Lily to be happy. Alone... (full context)
Daughter Days: Learning
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
As Elder Sister 's wedding approaches, the last round of gifts is delivered to Lily's family and Elder... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
On the day of Sorrow and Worry, three days before Elder Sister leaves home, Mama sits on the stairs and begins a lament at letting Elder Sister... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
When Elder Sister 's new family arrives the next day, Lily's family throws bamboo and water on them... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
Lily says that she remembers best the day that Elder Sister returned from a visit the following spring. Elder Sister cried in Mama's lap about her... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
Mama speaks in a detached voice. She echoes Elder Sister 's complaints, but says that as women they're powerless to resist. She recites the old... (full context)
Hair-Pinning Days: Beautiful Moon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
On the fifth day of the festival, Madame Gao visits and delivers a letter from Elder Sister , who cannot leave her in-laws' home due to her advanced pregnancy. Her letter is... (full context)
Hair-Pinning Days: The Flower-Sitting Chair
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mama, Aunt, Elder Sister , and other unmarried girls visit to celebrate, sing songs, and tell stories. Madame Wang... (full context)
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...bride's favorite day, as the third-day wedding books are read to the bride's new family. Elder Sister and Elder Brother arrive, but Snow Flower doesn't come. Lily is hurt and scared by... (full context)
Rice-and-Salt Days: Winter
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Communication Theme Icon
...in the mountains to find family. After two weeks she finds a family who knows Elder Sister , and they tell her that someone who sounds like Lily’s husband came looking for... (full context)