Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sophia Takahashi - Historical Context

Cultural Revolution and Ji-Li Jiang
Historical Context

Sophia Takahashi - Historical Context
Red Scarf Girl - Chapter 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 + Epilogue
Ji-Li Jiang
Rotation #5 (Historical Context) 

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 novel written by Ji-Li Jiang, and is a memoir of the Cultural Revolution. The story takes place in China, when Chairman Mao was in power. The novel, Red Scarf Girl, tells Ji-Li Jiang's story through the ages of twelve to fourteen.

Red Scarf Girl is based on Ji-Li Jiang's childhood through the Cultural Revolution (Wikipedia). Red Scarf Girl is completely evolved around the concept of the Cultural Revolution. Told by Ji-Li Jiang's point of view, she finds (at the beginning of the novel) that the Cultural Revolution was for the best. In this point of her life, the Cultural Revolution was all she could think about; how her family was labelled as a black family (due to rumours about her grandfather being a landlord) and moreover. In addition to her suffering through those years, she also suffered from controversy from other students in her school and Red Guards (48-51 Jiang).

A challenge Jiang must have experienced is how her book could have been banned/might be banned from some places like China. Due to the fact that this was a past historical event in China, the Chinese government might have not let Ji-Li publish her book there. Furthermore, an example of this is Graded School. Red Scarf Girl books were ordered and sent to be shipped to Brazil, but instead, were held in the border and not aloud to be brought in to this country (Hancock). This could simply be due to security rights or maybe even due to the fact that Red Scarf Girl talks about the Cultural Revolution.

"Ji-Li's goal was to expand the literature connections between China and the United States. She later stated that her release of Red Scarf Girl was to help with these connections" (Wikipedia). In addition, by Ji-Li Jiang publishing this book she was able to inform other countries' youth about what happened in China during the Cultural Revolution. Having non-ignorant teenagers, adults and children learn about the Cultural Revolution can lead to this not happening again. "For over twenty years, Ji-Li Jiang nursed her childhood memories of surviving the Cultural Revolution in China, and finally brought them to life in her first book Red Scarf Girl (Ji-Li Jiang - the author of "Red Scarf Girl").

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