Red Scarf Girl by Ji-Li Jiang
Chapters 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 + Epilogue
How did historical events influence the ideas in the novel? What cultural issues may have influenced, challenged, or inspired the author?
Red Scarf Girl is a book written by Ji-Li Jiang. It is her memoir of the Cultural Revolution from ages 12-14. "The Cultural Revolution was launched by Chairman Mao, supposedly to rid the country of anti-Communist influences. Long afterward it was revealed that Chairman Mao unleashed this chaos in order to protect his own political position" (Jiang 276).
She wanted to write the book because, "I grew up and moved to the United State, but still, whatever I did, wherever I went, vivid memories of my childhood kept coming back to me. After thinking so much about that time, I wanted to do some thing for the little girl I had been, and for all the children who lost their childhoods as I did. This book is the result (Jiang 266).
Ji-Li had always been smart, she had the admiration of her classmates, and she hoped to have a bright future in Communist China. But once the Cultural Revolution launched, her life began to fall apart. During the years of the Cultural Revolution, she was made fun of by her friends and neighbors just because of her class status. Ji-Li was always hopeful that her life would get better, but it never really did. Things just got worse and worse...
"Our leader had taken advantage of our trust and loyalty to manipulate the whole country. This is the most frightening lesson of the Cultural Revolution: Without a sound legal system, a small group or even a single person can take control of an entire country. This is as true now as it was then" (Jiang 266).