Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Daughter of Mama and Baba, and Lily's younger sister by one year. Lily describes her as acting as though she's spoiled and feels entitled to love, when in truth she is neither. She makes a great show of resisting foot binding and dies of septic shock after only a few weeks of having her feet bound.

Third Sister Quotes in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

The Snow Flower and the Secret Fan quotes below are all either spoken by Third Sister or refer to Third 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: Footbinding Quotes

For us, the pain didn't lessen. How could it? But we learned the most important lesson for all women: that we must obey for our own good.

Related Characters: Lily (speaker), Third Sister, Beautiful Moon
Related Symbols: Feet
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:
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"I would rather keep her on this earth unmarried than lose her forever."
"Then she would have no purpose and no value," Aunt reasoned. "Your mother love tells you this is no future."

Related Characters: Mama (speaker), Aunt (speaker), Third Sister
Related Symbols: Feet
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Third Sister Character Timeline in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

The timeline below shows where the character Third 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
...describes waking up with a tickle in her brain—she’s been sleeping between Elder Sister and Third Siste r, while her cousin, Beautiful Moon, sleeps across the room. Lily and her sisters regard... (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
...girls wake up. Elder Sister goes downstairs first, as Lily and Beautiful Moon must dress Third Siste r. When they come downstairs, Aunt and Uncle greet them all affectionately, while Mama ignores... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
Lily, Third Siste r, and their baby Second Brother are too young to go upstairs, so they go... (full context)
Daughter Days: Footbinding
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...her life changed. She and Beautiful Moon have their feet bound the following year with Third Siste r. Mama beats Lily regularly, and Baba never looks at her the same way, since... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
...Lily turns seven, Diviner Hu returns to find a date for her, Beautiful Moon, and Third Siste r to begin their binding. He settles on the typical date, which is in the... (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
On the morning the binding is to begin, Lily, Beautiful Moon, and Third Siste r offer the Tiny-Footed Maiden rice balls, and Mama and Aunt offer their miniature shoes... (full context)
Love and Family Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...and tells her to walk. Mama, Elder Sister, and Aunt lead Lily, Beautiful Moon, and Third Siste r back and forth across the room on their folded toes. After ten round trips,... (full context)
Women and Gender Theme Icon
Pain, Suffering, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Chinese Culture and Tradition Theme Icon
Lily, Beautiful Moon, and Third Siste r are made to walk again the next day, and the day after. Every fourth... (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
...lets no ugliness into her life. Beautiful Moon's toes break a few days later, but Third Siste r's toes won't break despite extra efforts. When the girls' bandages are next removed, 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
When it begins to snow outside, the bones in Lily's mid-foot break. Third Siste r becomes feverish, and one day when Mama and Aunt are downstairs, Elder Sister allows... (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
...first daughter-in-law, is tasked with caring for her, while Beautiful Moon and Lily care for Third Siste r. As young girls they don't know the words to comfort her, and she dies... (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
As the ground is too hard to dig graves, Grandmother and Third Siste r's bodies spend the winter under the snow. The women's chamber becomes even more disciplined... (full context)
Daughter Days: The Fan
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 the ground softens, Lily's family prepares Grandmother and Third Siste r for burial. Funerals are one of the most expensive life events, and Lily sees... (full context)