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The Decision Essay

1021 words - 5 pages

Red Scarf Girl by Ji-Li Jiang is an inspiring true story about a young girl who is forced to make an agonizing decision of country versus family. In her story of joy, sorrow, lament, resentment, and countless other perplexing experiences, she must decide whether she is her family's child or Chairman Mao's. In Red Scarf Girl, Ji-li is faced with the heart-breaking decision of her future, and finally after years of confounding peer and family pressure, she resolves to love her family. Throughout the book she is a zealous supporter of Mao, though is constantly running into contradicting encounters in the beginning, middle, and end.
In the very beginning, Ji Li is confidently dedicated to the ...view middle of the document...

She experiences countless questionable events including the criticizing of her parents and family, but still is devoted to Mao as she states, "I had wanted to give up. I had almost stopped trying to be brave, to be an educable child…Whatever my family background was, I would overcome all difficulties. My future would be bright." (199) this quote shows how peer pressure of the different factions has immensely influenced Ji-Li, not only in the revolution, but in her life. When she is encouraged to do the exhibition, she feels as if it is her one chance to prove herself, to be able to be an educable child, and most of all, be able to find her true self. She starts to truly find this out when she has the discussion after the exhibition when she pictures "breaking" with her dad. She says, "I saw myself standing in the middle of the stage, condemning Dad for his crimes, raising my fist to lead the chant… I saw Dad looking hopelessly, tears on his face." (225). This is one of the unbearable things that she feels she is being forced to do. She is facing friends, teachers, and revolutionists with the fact that she cannot have the "courage" to face her capitalist and bourgeois parents. Her once auspicious name had turned into her worst nightmare. In all of this chaos, she feels most like she is disobeying Mao. He was like a second father to her and disobeying him was letting him down. That is what holds Ji-Li back the most before she is forced to face her fears.
The very end of the book is when Ji-li discovers what has been deep down inside all along. When the rebels Thin-face and the others come and ransack their house, Ji-Li is at the climax of her bewilderment. She is horrified and scared for her fatigued mother, her frail grandma, and...

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