Study Guide

Red Scarf Girl Family

By Ji Li Jiang


When it comes to family, you love them, you hate them, you get annoyed with them… you get what we mean. But when push comes to shove, you know your family will be there for you, right? (We hope so, anyway.) In Red Scarf Girl, Ji-li knows her parents love her and that her family is a happy one… but what about the fact that they lied to her about her grandpa being a landlord? Or that her dad was caught up on the wrong side of politics back in the day? Hrm.

Ji-li has to figure out whether her allegiances lie with her family or her politics. It might sound like a straightforward question, but there's no easy answer when a revolution is knocking down your door. Literally.

Questions About Family

  1. When does Ji-li decide where her loyalty lies? What are some examples of being loyal to her family? When is she loyal to the government?
  2. Ji-li tells us that her family is rare and too valuable to be replaced. What do you think she means by that? How do you think this connects to the four olds?
  3. Do you think Ji-li's parents are right to keep their family history a secret from Ji-li? How would things turn out differently if they were more upfront with her in the beginning?
  4. Why is family so important in defining who people are in the book? Why do people denounce their families?

Chew on This

Ji-li's unwavering loyalty to her family shows that family is more important than politics or the government.

Even though Ji-li is loyal to her family, she still believes in the Cultural Revolution and that it should be put before individual needs.