Loss of Identity in Red Scarf Girl

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Ji-Li Jiang is obviously a talented writer. Her voice and style are honest, engaging and at times, humorous. Red Scarf Girl is a perfect story for middle school students. Ji-Li's initial acceptance by her classmates then rejection for actions beyond her control is something students can relate to, no matter the context. Ji-Li also addresses the difference between what the world is telling what is right and what you believe for yourself. In today's society, it is increasingly important for students to read non-fiction stories where a person stands against what is commonly accepted. It's easy to read a fantasy where the heroine stands up for herself but believe that courage that strong is only found in fairy tales; it's a whole new experience when that bravery was shown here, in the real world, against a real enemy.
The beginning of the book starts off innocently, with Ji-Li echoing the Communist beliefs touted by the Party. It will be helpful to students who doubt the effect of propaganda, especially since she is around their age. As the book progresses, Ji-Li becomes more conflicted and thus begins to be more of an individual instead of a follower.
Students will be able to pick out themes if this is used in a small group or even in a large. Activities, such as a Reality vs. Belief chart or similarities between Ji-Li and another character, would be useful and easy to accomplish.