What is the role of conformity and nonconformity in the novel, and how does this connect to the historical setting of the text?
Lui, Ziya. Cultural Revolution. Digital image. Pintrest. Pintrest, n.d. Web. 27
Red Scarf Girl is a book written by Ji-Li Jiang and fore worded by David Henry Hwang. The main character of the story is Ji-li, a well rounded student and respectable girl. But as the Cultural Revolution comes some of her past family secretes get digged up, and she no longer holds the title of the perfect student. The novel Red Scarf Girl pushes the reader to see that conformity was a “must” in 19th century China.
So far in this book Ji-Ling and her classmates have shown ways of conformity to the Cultural Revolution. “ “Gosh! I should have brought my yang-san like my mom told me to.”. . . “ An Yi you’re spreading the four olds”(page 42) At this point of the book Ji-li, An Yi and Yang Fan were joking around when An Yi used an old word,known as a four old, to describe her umbrella. Later in the text other students had heard them and they all ended up getting in a fight, calling out each other on their four olds. This quote shows the influence the revolution has brought on children and how they wanted to be apart of the change aswell. Later in the book it starts to get worse, because then children start pointing out certain family background information that is considered bad in the revolution. This shows me that children are really started to conform to these absurd rules and take them seriously. Even adults didn’t have independent thinking. “ . . . she wanted to finish the duty of having children sooner so she could have devote herself wholeheartedly to the revolution.” This influences me to think that Chairman Mao has such a strong effect on his people that they wanted to rush their family life to follow him. This shows conformity because his people are sacrificing things for the revolution, because they think it will bring them benefits. Such as when they destroyed the many signs of stores to show their devotion. “ Who would have believed that our entire educational system was wrong after all? Seventeen years after not bringing us up to be good red socialists and communists, as we had thought but revisionist.”(Page 47) At this time Chairman Mao had sent a message to the public saying that teachers and such were bad idea and that they should be punished with da-zi-bao’s. This is definitely a sign of conformity because children are being disrespectful to their teachers just because someone told them to. Not only were they disrepecting elders but other students as well, like Ji-li, by writing a da-zi-bao about her. Overall I think that the novel Red Scarf Girl pushes the reader to see that conformity was a “must” in 19th century China because it describes change in child,adult and country patriotism.