1. How did historical events influence the ideas in the novel? What cultural issues may have influenced, challenged, or inspired the author?
The major historical event that influenced this novel was the Chinese Cultural Revolution that started in 1966. The novel shows this moment of confusion and fear in the Chinese's life. Ji-Li's family has a black background, meaning they are a very ''fourolds'' traditional family. Ji-Li, on the other hand, is surrounded by the new culture in her school. She wanted to do activities such as when the students had to write big posters, da-zi-baos, criticizing the education systems and teachers. Once Ji-Li tells her parents about it, they are concerned and make her stay home for a few days. Also, Ji-Li is picked on for having a ''black'' background since her grandfather was a landlord, which was a ''fourold''. These examples show how Ji-Li is having a hard time fitting in because of her family, not her. It shows the difficult time for the people, especially the young ones, how life was.
The cultural issue that may have inspired the author is the beginning of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, which many people reacted differently to it, as shown in the novel. For example, when Ji-Li was called to try out her stretching, she had passed and was called to do another audition. Yet, because of her family background, her parents did not let her because it would be dangerous for their family. While the other two students that passed the audition as well, their parents let them participate on the second one. Also, on the da-zi-bao hanging, every kid was happy to do it, except Ji-Li, who had a very good relationship with her teaches and did not want to let them down.