Red Scarf Girl Essay

Red Scarf Girl Essay The Cultural Revolution was a time of much confusion in china. The memoir Red Scarf Girl by Ji-li Jiang illustrates the chaos of that time. Ji-li’s experiences during this time period led to her point of view changing. Ji-li starts the Cultural Revolution full of progressive thoughts, but this quickly turns to confusion, and leads to an important choice, something that impacts the rest of her life. In the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, Ji-li is full of thoughts of moving forward, and helping Mao’s work to succeed.
She believes that she can make a difference in the world. Ji-li helps with the “Destroy the Four Olds” campaign, and is nearby when a shop sign is smashed for having a name that does not concede with the communist principles. This gives her a feeling of kinship with everyone there. “Although what we had smashed was no more than a piece of wood, we felt like we had won a victory in a real battle. ”(Pg. 24). But even as she was aiding the revolution, her thoughts soon turned to confusion and frustration with the policies of the Communist party.
In short, Ji-li begins the revolution full of progressive thoughts but she soon becomes puzzled with the parties policies. As the glossiness of the revolution begins to fade, Ji-li becomes perturbed with the rules of the Communist party, as the Red guards constantly contradict them. The paper says that “a historic counterrevolutionary” had “confessed and had a positive attitude, he was pardoned”(Both on Pg. 176). However, this is opposite from how Uncle Zhu was treated after his confession, as he was pushed for more information to make Ji-li’s father confess.

All this chaos led to Ji-li having to make a choice between her father, or Chairmen Mao, because the Red guards needed her to be a witness of her father’s antirevolutionary activates to convict her father, and if she did not she would be stuck with a bad class status. This demonstrates the immense confusion there was during that time. In summary, the instability during the Cultural Revolution led to Ji-li having to make an important choice. As the novel draws to an end, Ji-li has am important choice to make; She can support her family or support Mao and the revolution.
Ji-li face great pressure from the red guards and also from the part of herself that wants to cure her black class status. However she chooses her family because “(it is) too precious to forget and too rare to replace”(Pg 263). However, this choice has consequences for her and her family. She was prevented from becoming an actress because of her class status, and her mother was forced to write self-critism reports because she would not break with her husband. In brief, Ji-li has a vital choice to make, and chose her family, but this choice had consequences. How does Ji-li’s point of view change during the Cultural Revolution?
It shifts from believing that Mao was most important, to believing that her family and responsibilities are most important. “Once my life had been defined by my goals: to be a Da-dui-zhang, to participate in the exhibition, to be a Red guard. They seemed unimportant to me now. Now my life was defined by my responsibilities. I had promised to take care of my family, and I would renew that promise every day”(Pg. 263) This shows how her view point has shifted from herself and Mao, to her family. Ji-li had a lot courage to be able to do what she did, and I think that it is her courage that got her this far.

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