Study Guide

Red Scarf Girl Society and Class

By Ji Li Jiang

Society and Class

What's your class status? Are you from a swanky high-class family with money and servants for days? Whether you are or not, you'd probably like to say yes to that question. Not in China during the Cultural Revolution, though. As we see in Red Scarf Girl, during this period, having piles of cash (or relatives who have piles of cash) is bad news. People think you're acting better than everyone else, and they'll call you an exploiter (or worse). Thanks to a wealthy, landlord grandfather, Ji-li gets her fair share of bad names and runs into a whole heap of problems. Thanks, Gramps.

Questions About Society and Class

  1. Why is social class such a big deal in the Revolution? What does it tell you about a person? How is it used in the book to evaluate someone's worth?
  2. Do you think it's fair that Ji-li is judged on her social class? Why does her grandpa's wealth and job impact her life?
  3. What are some of the positive aspects of the Revolution? What are the more negative aspects? What would a classless society look like?

Chew on This

Red Scarf Girl shows that there is no such thing as equality when it comes to social class.

Ironically, Red Scarf Girl shows the importance of class by focusing on class differences so much.