Red Scarf Girl: End. Junior High School At Last. Ji-li starts at her new school, and she is relieves to find that none of her old classmates are in her class. It’s a fresh start. Classes are boring as they’re learning about Mao instead of traditional classes.
Ji-li starts at her new school, and she is relieves to find that none of her old classmates are in her class. It’s a fresh start.
Classes are boring as they’re learning about Mao instead of traditional classes.
She is asked to do something for the revolution, but her memory of her last experiences in school make her say no.
During winter vacation, a friend of her dad’s comes to their house beaten up by the Red Guards.
Soon, they lock up and detain her dad.
He is gone for days. When Ji-li visits him, she is interrogated—they want her to rat on her dad.
She is offered another position to help the revolution—a guide for an exhibition. She first declines, asking the teacher if he was familiar with her file. He explained that while you can’t chose your class family, you can chose your stance.
She accepts the offer!
“I had wanted to give up. I had almost stopped trying to be brave, to be an educable child. I saw another part of myself, a part full of fear that I had to struggle against. I would not allow myself to stop trying to follow Chairman Mao. Whatever my family background was, I would overcome all difficulties. My future would be bright.” (199)
Three months after she last saw her Dad, he is escorted home to collect more clothes.
An article in the paper calls all Jiangs evil landlords.
Ji-li connects all of her misfortune to her last name. So, she goes to change her name.
Despite all of her challenges and painful experiences, she cannot forget her family. Although, the decision is very difficult—how she clenches her school bag strap suggests that she is very agitated.
“I was totally confused. I had only wanted to break with all those landlords in my family, not with Mom and Dad. Would changing my name mean breaking off relations with them? I thought of Aunt Xi-wen lying in the alley, and Shan-shan walking right past her….
I sat in the empty room, picturing telling Mom and Dad that I had changed my name.
I jumped up and ran out.
The street was still the same. The sun was shining warmly, and there were few people in sight. I slowly loosened my fist from the strap of my schoolbag. It was dripping with sweat.” (215)
She works very hard on the exhibition, but when teachers give her the opportunity to rat out her father again and she declines, they take her off of the case.
Ji-li compares herself to a helpless and trapped animal. The Cultural Revolution has trapped her, from no fault of her own. Unlike at the beginning, she has no refuge.
She is forced to go work in the rice fields during her summer break—others convince her that it will clean her black name.
The work is hard. She slices her leg open and feints.
When Ji-li returns home, there is another search on their home—they’re still looking for evidence to convict her father with.
Her mom hands Ji-li a letter that complains about the roughness of the revolution (it’s bad if the Red Guards find it!).
After they beat her grandma, the guards find the letter.
Her world is now empty—wherein the beginning she had hopes and dreams to look forwards to, now there is only silence. Also, comparing it to a grave suggests that she feels dead inside.
“It was now four thirty in the morning. The alley was deserted. The huge truck, loaded with most of our possessions, blew its horn in the deadly silence and triumphantly left.
The dark world became quiet, as quiet as the inside of a grave” (256).
Her mother and grandma are forced to sweep with the others.
Ji-li reaffirms her commitment to her family—she realises that she always put her family first and that she always will.