Study Guide

Red Scarf Girl Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

By Ji Li Jiang

Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

Do you dream of a world where you can lie around eating Cheetos and watching movies all day? We do, too. Ji-li has dreams of her own, and they're a bit nobler than quality time with the couch. She thinks about what she wants to do with her life (perform and act) and where she wants to go to school (Shi-yi). She has it all planned out. And then the Cultural Revolution starts, and her big plans for her life take a nose dive.

Red Scarf Girl isn't just about how Ji-li's future plans are ruined, though. The book also criticizes Mao's dream of a Cultural Revolution. The problem, it seems, is people. How so? No matter how great a manifesto may be, it can only be put into action by people—flawed, selfish, stupid, and vain people.

Questions About Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

  1. What are Ji-li's dreams at the beginning of the novel? At the end? What does this change reveal about her journey?
  2. What are Mao's plans for China? Why is it important to get rid of the four olds to achieve these hopes?
  3. What is Ji-li's dream for writing the book? What does she hope to achieve with it?

Chew on This

Ji-li never totally loses hope that her dreams can come true.

Even though Ji-li keeps on keeping on, at a point, she loses hope for her dreams for the future ever coming true.