Sunday, August 31, 2014

Question Commander- Round 2- Mari H

Red Scarf Girl
Ji-li Jiang
Chapters 3-5

1. Why did Jiang Ji-li's family want to keep their family background from her, and her siblings?

      Maybe the reason why they kept it all a secret for so many years is because they thought that they had nothing to do with her grandfather being a landlord. As it says on pg. 63, "'Now listen. What I want you to know is, whether or not your Grandpa was a landlord or an exploiter, it isn't your responsibility...'". This part of the text was when Ji-li's father took them for a walk to explain what really was their family background. In my point of view, they didn't want to tell the kids because they didn't want them to feel guilty, or that they had anything to do with her grandfather because even her father didn't really remember him, since his father died when he was seven. "Even I don't have a clear memory of him so it doesn't have to matter to you at all...'" pg. 63.

2. Why do they choose such young people to help the government?

      What I think is the answer to thins question is that the government wants the teens to get the ideas that they are great into their heads since they are still young, and they don't have the same idea about government than the adults have. In the book, it mentions that high school students are the Red Guards, and that middle school students also want to be Red Guards, but they can't. That is why they come up with the idea of becoming Red Successors. The kids think that what the government is doing is right because they don't have a full/clear view of what it really is, and how bad it can be. The government is taking advantage of who is younger with less experiences, making them think that they are the ones that have the power over the ones who should just because of a title. As is written in pg. 42, "One was titled, 'Teacher Li, abuser of the Young. " The student had failed to hand in her homework on time, and Teacher Li had told her to copy the assignment over five times as punishment." the students were taking control, and saying things about the teachers that would make them think that they were the ones in control over the teachers.

3. On page 72, Jiang Ji-li and her classmates find out that there would be no more junior high school entrance examination. What was the cause for there to be such a change? Should Jiang Ji-li be worried or happy?

      I think that Jiang Ji-li should feel both happy and worried. To begin with, worried because her family background could interfere into the school she was always planning to go to. As Jiang Ji-li wonders on page 73, "Without and entrance exam, how could I be sure of getting into Shi-yi? What could I do to make up for my family background?" this is when she starts to worry that her family background would interfere with her educational dream of going to Shi-yi. I was also upset that Jiang Ji-li was going through so much because of her family class status, and she was probably going to have her dreams crushed again because of the same thing that wasn't really her fault. Therefore, there was one point when both of us changed out minds into thinking that she actually had a chance. It was on page 74, when Teacher Gu says, "'I have some good news for you.[...] Ji-li, all the sixth-grade teachers agreed to assign you to Shi-yi Junior High." For some time there she was happy, she should be happy, until she hears rumors that the teachers' assignments had been canceled. To confirm, she went to Teacher Gu. Indeed they were. Not only that, she was to go to the same high school as Du Hai and Yin Lan-lan because the kids in the same neighborhood were to go to the same high school. Ji-li should be worried about that because they are probably going to pick on her in high school just as they did for the past month or so. The thing is she should still keep her hopes up just like Teacher Gu said on page 78, "'Things are bound to change for the better."


  1. Mari, good job on your post. I thought that your questions were really thoughtful and your answers were very detailed. Also, I likes the way you used quotes from the book to answer the question, this makes it easier for the reader to understand. I agree with you in question 1 when you talk about the reason that they kept it as a secret. I also, think that they kept as a secret because it is something that they didn't want to talk about, so they kind of tried to forget it.

  2. You did very well on your post. I really felt like you understand the situation in the book and you help others to understand it as well. Your examples and thought process was very clear and easy to follow. I agree with you on why Ji-Li's family wanted to keep their background a secret especially with the times and the cultural revolution going on. It reminds me of the Holocaust because people were trying to hide if their background had any Jewish ancestors.

  3. Question: Why do they choose such young people to help the government?

    Answer: In order for the Cultural Revolution to work, Mao appealed directly to his supporters and the nation's youth, such as Ji-Li, to help him "clean" China of many Western and money-oriented components of society that he considered "impure". I believe that Mao Ze-Dong chose the nation's youth because their beliefs and ideas were not as strong and could be easily changed. He also might have chosen them because they had been following the Communist Party's ideals since preschool and many were strong supporters of the movement. By shutting down many of the country's schools, Mao deployed most of the country's youth into a "battle" against the society they lived in. The movement quickly gained momentum and violence as students who fantasized about being heroes of the communist party came together to organize army-like groups called Red Guards who attacked and persecuted anyone and anything that could be associated with China's pre-revolutionary past and capitalist values.

  4. Dear Mariana,
    I really like your post and I thought that your questions were outside the box. I don't really agree on what you said on the last question, because in her situation, i would be more worried than at any rate happy. Since she had the best grades, technically she should be put in a better school, but with the cultural revolution's new rules, she might be put in a school where everyones intelligence is not s big as hers. Finally, do you think that Ji-li will adapt to this new style of living or not?
    Lucas T.

    1. Lucas, your question really intrigued me and I might have a possible answer. In any political or cultural change/uprising/movement, people are bound to get hurt. In the case of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, however, over 1.5 million people were killed and many more were injured. In addition, countless families were torn apart and nearly destroyed. According to the book, Jiang Ji-Li's family is very reliant on the "four olds" and very attached to certain "bourgeois" values. I believe that sooner or later, the Red Guards may invade Ji-Li's home and punish them severely for having capitalist values.

      In times of desperation and sadness, humans have always been able to adapt and work around difficulties in order to survive (it is our nature to do so). This is why I believe that Ji-Li and her relatives will find a way to survive in the scary reality that they live in. However, it will not be easy and they will have to face many dangers, just like others that lived through the revolution. What many do not realize, is that Ji-Li's family is actually wanted by the Red Guards and is considered one of the Cultural Revolution's enemies. Yes, I do believe that Ji-Li will at least try to adapt to her new and dangerous life, but it will not be easy. There might be times when she thinks about giving up on life, but I think that she will prevail and have faith in herself.

  5. Hey Mari,

    Your post is really good. You had similar questions to me, and you had very thorough answers. For the first question, I completely agree with your answer. This is because, I agree that her parents and grandmother felt that they shouldn't know that their grandfather was a landlord, because it doesn't affect them. Also, her father doesn't even have a good memory, and probably learned to not think about his father. Secondly, I agree that the government should not start getting people to become part of the government at such a young age. The kids might not completely know their political views, or if they want to be a Red Guard for sure. I can connect this to South Korea. This is because, they try to get kids to join the army at a young age. Finally, like you, I feel bad for Ji-Li, because her dreams of going to Shi-Yi were crushed. They should have kept that test, because Ji-Li is an advanced student and expected to go to the high--end school. Thank you for help me think further into the book!


  6. Dear Mari,
    Your post was very good but I would point something out to you in your third question. Have you ever thought that she should also worry about the fact that she would not get into the high school she wanted to because, in the end some one who was a red guard but not as smart might get in because of their position. Also I disagree with what you said about the first question. I thought that the parents should have told Ji-Li because, she has to know even if she never met him, people will associate her with him and she needs to know about this do defend herself. What do you think about what I pointed out?

    1. Gabe,

      Thank you for all the things you pointed out in my post. Your comment was great for me to think in different ways. First, when you pointed out that a Red Successor might get Ji-li's spot in the high school she was wanting to get in. I had totally forgotten that these kinds of things counted as well. Also, if she still had to take the final entrance exam, she would still have a chance of not getting in because she could have not gotten the greatest grade. This makes me realize that she would still have to worry if there was still an final entrance exam, but not as much because she has been preparing, and dreaming about this for so long. Second, you disagreed with my first question, and said that her father and grandmother should've told her. Now that you mentioned it, I think it is good to have an opinion of someone who thinks differently than I do. It helped me understand what other opinions are, and what is their thought on that aspect. All in all, your comment helped me expand my thinking, and be able to look at things from different angles.

  7. Mari,

    Over all I think that your post is really good. I loved the questions you made and it really made me feel you understood the section of the book. Also, you answers were really detailed. However, in your third question you should consider that she did enter the High School that she wanted. Even though she dint do a test it was sort of a life long test. All of her teachers nominated her.

  8. 3. On page 72, Jiang Ji-li and her classmates find out that there would be no more junior high school entrance examination. What was the cause for there to be such a change? Should Jiang Ji-li be worried or happy?

    Well in my thought, I saw that Ji-li was more worried than happy. Especially during the few last chapters. She had good grades and all but as I kept reading it I only saw her worried for the whole chapter except for a minor part of it. As it is shown, it is the government's fault. I also think it is Chairman Mao's fault. This is a dictator example the way I see it.

  9. 3. On page 72, Jiang Ji-li and her classmates find out that there would be no more junior high school entrance examination. What was the cause for there to be such a change? Should Jiang Ji-li be worried or happy?

    At first, I didn't know how Ji-li would take the information. Though, as she soon found out she was elected for the school she dreamed to go to, she was more than happy. Sadly, it all changed and she has to go to a school in her neighborhood now. I think Ji-li was correct in being excited to go to the school she loved and wished to go to. Though, if I were to answer your question now, with Ji-li having to go to a school in her neighborhood, I don't believe she should dread on it nor does she have to be overly excited, though she should have some hope. I loved how you used what Teacher Gu said, "Things are bound to change for the better." She's really telling Ji-li to have hope and wait, because good things will come.

  10. Mari,

    I loved how you took something you knew already, and turned it into something that couldn't have been explained in the book. First of, I want to analyze what you thought about question number one. This is the question that struck me the most because it is something that could go to many answers, just like yours. I can agree with you because you explained why you thought of that; however, I might have an answer of my own. In my opinion, many people decide to keep information from their own family because they want to protect them. Well, in this occasion, Ji-Li's father decided not to tell her things about her family background since telling her would make things worst. I don't know that for sure, but by the way her father told Ji-Li, it was because of a good cause. For example, Ji-Li saw how her father's eyes filled with tears and have never seen it before. This proves that her father didn't have to tell her because it would affect her in a big way. To summarize, Ji-Li's family said nothing because it wasn't necessary to bring out something that wouldn't matter that much to her own good.