Red Scarf Girl SSR Project


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An English 10 SSR Project - Instructions


Red Scarf Girl Cover.jpg

Red Scarf Girl Cover.jpg



Glorious Cultural Revolution

  • Occurs on page 1 and throughout the book
  • "We thanked heaven that Chairman Mao had started this Cultural Revolution, and that the Central Committee of the Communist Party had uncovered this mess in our schools." Ji-Li, page 38



  • Occurs on page 1 and throughout the book
  • "We thanked heaven that Chairman Mao had started this Cultural Revolution, and that the Central Committee of the Communist Party had uncovered this mess in our schools." Ji-Li, page 38


Chairman Mao

  • Occurs on page 3 and throughout the book
  • "Anyone who sees Chairman Mao is the happiest person in the world." Chinese saying, page 107


Red Guards

  • Occurs on page 133 and throughout the book
  • "The Red Guards are going to search your home in passing!" Six-Fingers, page 133


Young Pioneers

  • Occurs on page 3 and throughout the book
  • "We are the Young Pioneers, successors to Communism. Our red scarves flutter on our chest." Young Pioneer Song, page 3



  • Occurs on page 9 and throughout the book
  • "I was an Outstanding Student, an Excellent Young Pioneer, and even the da-dui-zhang, the student chairman of the whole school." Ji-Li, page 9


Zeno's Paradox

  • Occurs on page 13
  • "... [Dad] explained Zeno's paradox and the infinite series. We thought Dad knew everything." Ji-Li, page 13


salon (party)

  • Occurs on page 16
  • "They called these meeting Jiang's salon." Ji-Li, page 16



  • Occurs on page 30
  • "What's more is that they are detrimental to the revolution, so we must oppose them resolutely." Red Guard, page 30



  • Occurs on page 39 and throughout the book
  • "All students were directed instead to participate in the movement by writing big posters, da-zi-bao, criticizing the educational system." Ji-Li, page 38


Ménière's disease

  • Occurs on page 180
  • "She was having an attack of Ménière's disease." Ji-Li, page 180



  • Occurs on page 84
  • "They said she had hundreds of thousands of yuan in the bank." Ji-Li, page 84


Vocab Practice

1. The leader of China during Ji-Li's youth.

2. The student group which Ji-Li is a member of in the beginning of the book.

3. An intellectual party or gathering.

4. Propaganda posters used to attack and humiliate people.

5. The economic system in China during ji-Li's time.

6. Apparently true statement which can not be true.

7. harmful: causing damage, harm, or disadvantage

8. A disorder caused by an accumulation of fluid in the labyrinths of the inner ear.

9. The student chairman of the school.

10. Chinese money.


Ji-Li Jiang survived red China's Glorious Cultural Revolution; possibly Chairman Mao's biggest mistake. Ji-Li's world is turned upside down by the insatiable quest of her peers to eradicate the four-olds from society. Old ideas, old customs, old culture, and old habits are holding back China from its strong socialist future. Pants with legs narrower than 9 inches were just cut off on the streets. Pointed shoes were considered taboo. The Good Fortune Photo Studio was too èlite; it was renamed the Proletarian Photo Studio. Profit making and capitalism were strictly forbidden and frowned upon. Ji-Li suffers because her grandpa was a landowner. Land owners were seen as exploitative of the lower class. For 12 years, Ji-Li lived a comfortable life in a mid-sized apartment. But now, any inequality in wealth between people must be removed. Ji-Li is forced to avoid her somewhat-affluent past. Ji-Li's father and mother fire their servant, burn their decorative clothes, and repaint their mahogany furniture. They know that the Red Guards are on the patrol for rouge citizens who do not remold their ideologies and extinguish their former wealth.

Ironically, the guards leading the way are no other then Ji-Li's peers. Those that did not do well at school, now discover their power as members of the Young Pioneers. Ji-Li, a straight honor student, must cope with the reversal of power in the classroom. The students rebel against the teachers, driving them out of school and eroding the typical respect they had for their elders. They even go as far as accusing the teachers of poisoning their minds. For example, they had corrupted a young revolutionary by buying him bread when he did not have a lunch. Ji-Li, as an honor student, is saddened and tries to support the teachers. Her position is frowned upon by her friends. But when the students accuse her of a relationship with a male teacher, Ji-Li fears for her personal safety, and tries to distance herself from the rest of the group, leaving her open to even more accusations of being a counterrevolutionary.

Being a counterrevolutionary was dealt with very harshly and fiercely during Ji-Li's time. Groups of people went around ransacking homes and searching people in the streets to try and find any evidence of resisting Chairman Mao and his cultural revolution. Unfortunately, there were not actually very many people plotting against the government, if any in Ji-Li's town. Therefore they accuse people of treason for even the smallest of crimes. A trash man is arrested for accidentally tearing a picture of Chairman Mao while removing scrap papers.

Ji-Li's life is also made hard because she has landlord grandparents. The Red Guards want Ji-Li to break all ties with her family and become a new person. Ji-Li is torn between the family she loves and her future in politics. The decision is easy for some students in her class. But when Ji-Li's father is arrested for interrogation, Ji-Li must make the big decision affecting her entire future. Does she renounce and accuse her father of crimes that he did not commit, or should she seal her fate as a counterrevolutionary forever, thereby subjecting her to forced labor and "study" sessions for the rest of her life?


1. Who has a crush on Ji-Li?

2. Is Ji-Li's family black, neutral, or red?

3. What is Ji-Li's father detained by his work unit for?

4. What is the name of the Jiang's former housekeeper?

5. What is the Good Fortune Photo Shop is renamed to?

a. The Proletarian Photo Shop
b. The Photo Shop n' Snap
c. The Bourgeois Photo Store
d. Ritz Cameras

6. Why were land owners looked down upon?

7. Why did Ji-Li not break with her family and insure her future?

8. What were some of the differences between what the Cultural Revolution was suppose to do and what it did?

9. Why did the non-studious students rise to control in the Red Guard?

10. At the end of the book, how has Ji-Li changed?

Literary Elements


On pages 13 trough 17, Ji-Li sets up the back story (exposition) by explaining the characters and her life before the auditions. She dumps out about 5 pages of information that helps readers throughout the story. Also what’s interesting is that she starts and ends similarly. On page 13, she starts with, "Until that spring I believed that my life and my family were nearly perfect." Five pages latter, she ends with "Until that audition, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world."

Point of View

The Point of View (POV) in Red Scarf Girl is first person. That means that everything is explained from one persons point of view, Ji-Li's. No other points of view can be directly represented, such as with a third person omniscient narrator.


The climax of the book occurs when Ji-Li is forced to make a tough decision. Her father is being detained for crimes which Ji-Li believes he did not commit. However, the accusers will not accept this for an answer. If she refuses to tell them what they want to hear, she will be forced to suffer for the rest of her life. She will be marked as a counterrevolutionary and all privileges will be taken from her. However, if she accuses her father, she will be invited to join the political elite. Ji-Li is involved in a Man-vs.-Self conflict.


Ji-Li is a round character. She changes as the book progresses. She starts out as a political star, seeing nothing wrong with the system in China. However, by the end, she finds out about her troubled past and the negatives of the Cultural Revolution. She comes to value her family more as she chooses them over the promises of being a "red" child.


Chairman Mao states that the four olds of society are symbols of old China. He states that these symbols are holding China back from its strong socialist future. These symbols of the past must be irradiated to insure a bright, red future for China.