Study Guide

Grandma Cao in Red Scarf Girl

By Ji Li Jiang

Grandma Cao

Ji-li's grandma sounds exactly like our grandma—by which we mean she's loving, sassy, and not afraid to let her hair down once in a while. Since she lives with Ji-li's family, we get to see how affectionate she is with her grandkids, and Ji-li tells us that Grandma Cao dances around with them and plays games. When she thinks about it, Ji-li realizes how great her grandma is. She lets us in on a secret:

She doesn't seem like a landlord's wife, I suddenly thought. In the movies the landlord's wife was ugly, cruel, and stupid. Grandma was beautiful, kind, and smart. I remembered coming home from kindergarten and showing Grandma the songs and dances we had learned. Grandma sat before us with her knitting, nodding her head in time to the music. (8.20)

That doesn't sound like a mean old exploiter to us. We can tell how much Ji-li cares about her grandma, even if she is a landlord's wife.