Sunday, May 17, 2015

Literary Analysis - Julia Jacob #5

Fear is one of the themes of the book Red Scarf Girl, by Ji-li Jiang. The period of the Cultural Revolution was a time of fear, confusion, and violence in which the rules and traditions of the Chinese society break down. Adolescents and college students wander the streets and approach people if they think they are dressed wrong.The Red Guards conduct searches of people's households, as they do the Jiangs (due to the family’s ‘Black History’). They live in fear of the searches and the kids and Grandma stay in the park all day long for better protection from the guards. The family is so insecure about safety that they have their own system with a map to designate whether or not it is safe to come home. Ji-li and her family pass the better part of the two years living in fear, especially once her father is detained due to the family’s ‘Black History’. He now has to attend late night meetings that are located in the theater where he is critiqued, mocked and pressured to confess. As soon as the search for ‘Four Old’ items and riches, Ji-li Jiang and her family had to fire their housekeeper, Song Po-Po, because they are so scared to be accused of exploiting workers. A bit after this happens, the Red Guards are searching Ji-li’s house and they find a knife with some of the family’s burn photos in a garbage bag. Everything the family does is based on fear, and they do not want anything to get them in trouble.

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