How does Ji-Li's attitude about the government of China change throughout "Red Scarf Girl"?

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Red Scarf of the title is highly symbolic of Jiang Ji-Li's childhood life.  She, like so many, grew up devoted to Mao Tse-Tung and to the Cultural Proleteriat Revolution.  The red scarf was an emblem of that revolution, and she wore it with the belief that all the classes of people would come together for the common good.  Even when her father is denounced for the long ago beliefs of his own father, Jiang is unable to accept the possibility that Chairman Mao might not be delivering all that he has promised. 

For two years in her early teens, Jiang holds firm to the new social "craze", believing her faith in her government is good and the faults of her family are embarrassing and not her concern.  However, when finally challenged to denounce her family, Jiang can not do it.  The teenager matures and understands that, even though it might make a harder life for her, she must be loyal to the family that she knows is good and kind and has always done the best for her.  She evens says that her best friend saw the change in her:

"An Yi said that I seem to have changed into a different person."

Having begun by worshipping new government of China, Jiang changes to being suspicious and wary of the new government.  She recognizes that the government is corrupt and untrustworthy, and that citizens must be careful in all their actions to avoid swift censure.

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