Sunday, October 19, 2014

Week 2 - Historical Context Question

Red Scarf Girl
Ji Li Jiang
Chapters 3,4,5
Historical Context Question #1

A lot of historical events influenced the ideas in the novel. Red Scarf Girl is a memoir about the cultural revolution from a "black" family's point of view (Wikipedia). This book talks about the author's teenage life and the humiliation that her family suffered because of her grandfather being a landlord; therefore, being called "black." Black because it is the opposite color of "red", the color of Communism (Wikipedia). The Cultural Revolution was a social-political movement in China from 1966 until 1976. It started with Mao Zedong with the goal to preserve true Communist ideology by removing the remains of capitalism and traditional elements, and to re-impose Maoist thoughts (what Mao Zedong believed) as the dominant ideology in the Party (Wikipedia). This historical event has a great influence in the ideas of the novel. Everything that people do is all because of the Cultural Revolution. For example, on chapter 2, the student inspectors were inspecting a man to see if his clothes were four olds. They started teasing him and measuring his pants and shoes. When they saw the man's pants were too tight, they cut his pants and tore his shoes apart. That happened in the book because of the cultural revolution. The cultural revolution made theses high school students do that to a 30 year old man. Theses acts were taken because Mao Zedong wanted to remove the four olds. If it weren't for the cultural revolution, that wouldn't have happened to the man. 

A lot of cultural issues challenged, influenced and inspired the author. This book is all based from the Cultural Revolution and the author's hard childhood during that time. Ji Li's family past would haunt her in her everyday life. Whatever she did, her family's past would influence it. For example, when Ji Li was elected to be one of the Red Successors on chapter 4, she didn't make it because of her family's past and the fact that her grandfather was a landlord. Landlords were considered really bad people because they would hit slaves and etc. The cultural revolution didn't support it and everyone who did that were not approved by the Communist Party. Even the school she went was determined by her class status. Ji Li was treated like this because of the Cultural Revolution. If it wasn't for the Revolution, she wouldn't be treated that way. She would have entered a good school with her excellent grades. But, with the Revolution, all that matters is their class background. She is not respected anymore by her classmates. Before, she used to be the role model, the exemplary student. Now, all people care about is their class status. In conclusion, we can clearly see how historical events had a big influenced in the novel. 

1 comment:

  1. I really like your post Julia. I think I agree with you about the settings and the problem of the author and Ji Li Jiang. Also the cultural revolution has enlightened the author but, it has more to do with the author's experience and her thoughts about the cultural revolution. I really like your facts and what you have said, but I think you shouldn't use Wikipedia. Some facts there might be wrong since many other people just put some out- of- the- blue- words. But I don't know if Ji Li was treated the way she was because of the cultural revolution. It could have been anything that could influence anyone at that time because many people had some kind of sense that they thought was not good for what they thought. So it could have been anything that influenced her to be like that. Anyways it was a good post and I liked it very much!