The Golden Age


Joan London

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Sally Briggs Character Analysis

Elsa’s younger sister. Less innately beautiful and charming than Elsa, Sally has always been resentful of her sister’s connection with their mother, Margaret, as well as her privileges as the eldest daughter. Her tense relationship with Elsa comes to a head when the latter collapses in the driveway with the first onset of polio and Sally, enraged and not understanding the seriousness of the situation, kicks her fiercely. Although Sally never apologizes for this, by the end of the novel her behavior towards Elsa softens and they reconcile.
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Sally Briggs Character Timeline in The Golden Age

The timeline below shows where the character Sally Briggs appears in The Golden Age. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
15. Christmas
Survival Theme Icon
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Before polio, Elsa had tennis lessons; her sister Sally was annoyed by this, because she wanted to play tennis too but instead had to... (full context)
Survival Theme Icon
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon his prescription pad. Even though he’s devoted to Elsa, he feels some sympathy for Sally, whom he sees as “the unfavorite,” just like he often is. (full context)
17. The Sea
Survival Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
...her of all the things she’ll never be able to do again. She thinks about Sally riding the bike that was her pride and joy before polio. (full context)
30. The Separation
Strength, Physicality, and Femininity Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Sally is unhappy because she has to share her room with Jane. She contrives never to... (full context)
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
...and a little boy runs anxiously alongside the procession. Elsa knows the little boy represents Sally, and that Sally now feels the responsibility for the family that used to be Elsa’s. (full context)
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Shortly afterwards, Elsa is sitting on the verandah when Sally returns home from an errand. The two sisters look at each other for a minute;... (full context)
31. The Visit
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Sally watches for the Golds and announces their arrival exuberantly. The Briggs’ rarely have visitors, and... (full context)