Thursday, April 16, 2015

Week 1 - Question Commander

Why didn’t Ji-li’s dad let Ji-Li take the audition for the Central Liberation Army Arts Academy?
In the book, Ji-li is extremely excited by the thought of auditioning for the liberation army arts academy. However, Ji-li’s father does not allow her to audition and I was curious why he wouldn’t let her. “Everybody, guess what! Today a Liberation Army woman came to school and she tested me and she wants me to audition for the Central Liberation Army Arts Academy. Just think! I could be in the Liberation Army! And I could be a performer, too! Isn’t it great?” I picked up our cat, Little White, and gave her a big kiss.” Throughout this quote, the readers can see the protagonist’s excitement. Ji-li’s siblings saulted her but the elders did not think it was a good idea to audition. Ji-li’s mother explained what her father meant through the quote, “Your father means that the recruitment requirements are very strict.” At first, I did not understand why Ji-li saw pain in his eyes while talking about the subject. However, I figured out that it was because of political issues.

What does the red scarf symbolise in the book?
The story takes place in China and in China, the color red is known to symbolise fortune and joy. During the Chinese New Year and other holidays, a red envelope is a monetary gift which is given in Chinese society to symbolise good luck (Wikipedia). In my opinion, since the story’s historical background is the Chinese Revolution, I think the red scarf that Ji-li wears is symbolising communism and freedom. Also, wearing the red scarf embodied the social and political representations that she coveted. The red scarf was a way to move closer to the idea that Mao had occupied. It represented the fundamental crash between political and private.
Why did Mao want the Four Olds to be destroyed?
Mao wanted the Four Olds to be destroyed because they were reminders that the capitalist class was still present in China. The Four Olds consisted of Old Ideas, Old Customs, Old Culture, and Old habits. These were the elements that Mao wanted to eliminate from China as a result of the Cultural Revolution. One of the important components that China past was eliminating symbols of old China. Anything that reminded people of the old order, or symbolized the old aristocracy, was to be destroyed.

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