Personal Connection: Red Scarf Girl
I think that one of the biggest themes in this book is trust, which was a moral instilled in me from when I was five. I went to that first day of kindergarten class, and played trust games with my fellow classmates, thinking it is more of a good time than a form of teaching. When I was young, I was convinced that everyone is exactly the same, because I was surrounded by people that are like me. Once I got older, I started realizing that not everyone is equal. For example, if I see a homeless person on the street asking for a dollar or two, I would completely ignore him, assuming he is going to use it to buy drugs. If my friend asks to borrow a dollar or two, I would give it to my friend, needing no explanation. I would have no idea what my friend is spending it on. It may be drugs just as well, but because these two people have completely different rankings, I would give it to the one who you can trust.
In this case, Mao is the one you can trust. He is the pure, red Communist, their beloved leader, whose ideas are going to make China thrive (1). Ji-Li’s family is the black, opposing side that is hindering China from reaching its peak (60). Because you believe Mao is doing the right thing, you put your trust in him and give him your one or two dollars, which in this case, is dedicating your life.
In realistic times though, on that walk where I see the homeless person on the street, I am faced with the problem of helping this man and giving him my dollar, or following what almost every other passerby will do.
This is where Ji-Li becomes confused. She has no reason to believe that her family is going to betray her trust, or do anything wrong for that matter. She becomes confused and doesn’t know what to do. She wants to change her last name (214-15), feeling as though Mao is the one to follow so that she can be an educable child (198), but then again her parents are good people and love her. She doesn’t know what to do in this situation. She can’t decide who to give her dollar to.
In the end, Ji-Li decides to stick by her family, because she feels like it is the right thing to do. You can tell she makes this decision whenever she hides the letter for them and refuses to give it to the guards (247; 251-52).