Unpolished Gem

by

Alice Pung

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Huyen Thai and An Pung’s daughter. Little Brother is their second daughter, but she is built like a boy. She is mischievous and refuses to wear dresses, and she is a source of extreme unhappiness for An, who wants only sons. Little Brother dies when she is just a toddler after she falls climbing a shelf and impales her head with a lollipop. Huyen Thai is heartbroken, and before she buries her, she cuts a lock of her hair.

Little Brother Quotes in Unpolished Gem

The Unpolished Gem quotes below are all either spoken by Little Brother or refer to Little Brother. 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:
Culture and Assimilation  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Plume edition of Unpolished Gem published in 2006.
Part 2 Quotes

“She’s built like a boy,” said my grandfather, “and now you’ve given her that terrible name. She’s going to grow up like a boy if you’re not careful, and then no one will want her. Who wants a girl always running about this way and that? Keep that child still, and stop calling her Little Brother! What do you think it is—some kind of joke? Do you think it’s funny hah?”

Related Characters: An Pung (speaker), Huyen Thai, Little Brother
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Unpolished Gem LitChart as a printable PDF.
Unpolished Gem PDF

Little Brother Character Timeline in Unpolished Gem

The timeline below shows where the character Little Brother appears in Unpolished Gem. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2
Culture and Assimilation  Theme Icon
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Gender and Inequality Theme Icon
...sure he was cursed. Huyen Thai named her MeiHuay, beautiful flower, but called her “ Little Brother .” This new baby had “sturdy legs” and a “strong face,” and everyone soon began... (full context)
Culture and Assimilation  Theme Icon
Gender and Inequality Theme Icon
Little Brother was very mischievous, and Huyen Thai had a difficult time keeping her in line and... (full context)
Culture and Assimilation  Theme Icon
Gender and Inequality Theme Icon
...Pung threw a big celebration when the baby turned one month old. Before the party, Little Brother tried to take the lollipops that An had set aside for the guests, and he... (full context)
Culture and Assimilation  Theme Icon
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Gender and Inequality Theme Icon
After An left the room, Huyen Thai gave Little Brother a lollipop to calm her down and went back to preparing food for the party.... (full context)
Epilogue
Culture and Assimilation  Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Marriage Theme Icon
...brought Easter bunny chocolates wrapped in shiny gold foil for the children. Alice thinks about Little Brother , and as they all walk away from the grave, they are told not to... (full context)