Study Guide

An Yi in Red Scarf Girl

By Ji Li Jiang

An Yi

Ji-li's bestie goes through a tough time in the book. Since her mom is a teacher, she's getting the worst of the Red Guards' special punishments. As An Yi confides in Ji-li:

"If Mom is a little late coming back from school, we're so worried. Dad paces up and down, and I just can't do anything. Sometimes Dad can't stand it anymore, and he goes to school to meet her. I'm so scared. I don't know what'll happen next. Ji-li, sometimes I'm really afraid to go home." (9.78)

Clearly—and understandably—An Yi is shaken to the core. And she lives with this heap of fear on a near-constant basis on the Revolution's underway. Even more disturbing, though, is the fact that An Yi's mom was an award-winning teacher before the Revolution began. In other words, Ji-li is sure she's not out to hurt anybody. And yet the Red Guard won't leave her alone.

Watching An Yi go through this injustice makes Ji-li think twice about the Cultural Revolution as a whole. It doesn't make sense to her that An Yi's mom could be punished. Plus, we get to see how someone else deals with the stress and pressure of coming from a poor family status. It really gets to An Yi because she feels down about how everyone is treating her family and constantly worried about her family's future.