Ji Li Jiang
chapters 16, 17, epilogue
"Now it was my turn to watch her and take care of her. I no longer worried that she was a landlord's wife. She was my grandmother." (chapter 17)
This is where Ji Li finally realizes that her family is more important and means more than the cultural revolution. Throughout the whole book, Ji Li does everything she can to clean her name and support the revolution. She went to do summer labor in the countryside knowing that her mom and grandma were really sick and her dad was not there. She put aside her family to do something to prove Chairman Mao that she supported the revolution. She even tried to change her name so she would be part of a black family anymore. Throughout the whole book, she blamed her grandfather for being a landlord. Now, she doesn't care anymore if her grandma was the landlord's wife. She finally prioritizes her family instead of the cultural revolution. She finally sees her grandmother and her grandma instead of the landlord's wife.
"We were all brainwashed." (epilogue)
This, for me, explains everything in the book. It explains why Ji Li and everyone in China acted the way they did with the Cultural Revolution. They were all brainwashed into thinking that everything Chairman Mao said was right and wrong, was right and wrong. They accused people of doing nothing wrong thinking that it was wrong. They punished people for being guiltless. They made kids hate their own parents. If it wasn't for Chairman Mao brainwashing everyone, people would never do this to one another. The fact that they were all brainwashed, explains why Ji Li acted the way she did in every situation. It explains why she wanted to be part of and dedicated everything to support the revolution. It wasn't their fault for acting the way they did because they had no other option. Everyone around them would tell them what was right and what was wrong. We are all influenced by the community in which we live in. It started with Chairman Mao and the Red Guards setting rules and saying what was right and wrong. They would spread it to the citizens in China. These citizens spread it to the people around them. Ji Li had no other option but to believe and do what Chairman Mao says because they are all influenced by the community in which they live in. As time went by, more and more people were brainwashed.
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