Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution
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This accessible autobiography is the true story of one girl's determination to hold her family together during one of the most terrifying eras of the twentieth century.
It's 1966, and twelve-year-old Ji-li Jiang has everything a girl could want: brains, friends, and a bright future in Communist China. But it's also the year that China's leader, Mao Ze-dong, launches the Cultural Revolution—and Ji-li's world begins to fall apart. Over the next few years, people who were once her friends and neighbors turn on her and her family, forcing them to live in constant terror of arrest. When Ji-li's father is finally imprisoned, she faces the most difficult dilemma of her life.
A personal and painful memoir—a page-turner as well as excellent material for social studies curricula—Red Scarf Girl also includes a thorough glossary and pronunciation guide.
Supports the Common Core State Standards
but greater still is the kindness of the Communist Party; father and mother are dear, but dearer still is Chairman Mao.” With my red scarf, the emblem of the Young Pioneers, tied around my neck, and my heart bursting with joy, I achieved and grew every day until that fateful year, 1966. That year I was twelve years old, in sixth grade. That year the Cultural Revolution started. THE LIBERATION ARMY DANCER Chairman Mao, our beloved leader, smiled down at us from his place above the blackboard.
sparkling on my blouse. I had almost given up, but my teachers had not. The lonely flower had not been forgotten after all. I was happier than I had been for weeks. Then I felt myself blush. I had tried to avoid Teacher Gu. I had not wanted anyone to see me talking to her. I had not supported her as she had supported me. “Teacher Gu!” I called after her. “Thank you!” She turned and smiled at me, and I thought of something else. “Teacher Gu, what school was An Yi assigned to?” Seeing her
before us with her knitting, nodding her head in time to the music. Sometimes we insisted that she sing with us, and she would join in with an unsteady pitch and heavy Tianjin accent, wagging her head and moving her arms just as we did. When we tired of singing, we would pester Grandma to show us her feet. When she was young it was the custom to tightly bind girls’ feet in bandages to make them as small as possible—sometimes as small as three inches long. This was considered the height of a
pounded the table with his fist. The cups on the table rattled. I tore my eyes away from him and stared at a cup instead. “As I told you before, you are your own person. If you want to make a clean break with your black family, then you can be an educable child and we will welcome you to our revolutionary ranks.” He gave Chairman Jin a look, and Chairman Jin chimed in, “That’s right, we welcome you.” “Jiang Ji-li has always done well at school. In addition to doing very well in her studies,
away.” Mom let out a despairing sigh and buried her face in her hands. Grandma lay down again and moaned softly. Ji-yong, Ji-yun, and I sat looking at each other, with no idea what we should do. The sun had risen as usual, but nothing else about the day was the same as the day before. Ji-yong went with Mom to report to her work unit that she had now been classified as a landlord’s wife. Ji-yun and I were to accompany Grandma to the Neighborhood Dictatorship Group to register. Before we left,