Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution

by Jiang Ji-Li

Start Free Trial

What causes Old Qian to become even more obstinate and solitary

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Old Qian has always been a stubborn old soul. He was renowned in the neighborhood as someone who always did things his own way, going about his daily business with his lips tightly shut, not speaking a word to anyone. Qian was a faintly intimidating figure to the children of the alley, who never dared to climb into his courtyard to steal his mulberry leaves. And as the years have gone by, his character hasn't changed a bit; if anything, he's even more obstinate and solitary than ever before.

Jiang thinks this is mainly because his son-in-law had been executed as a counter-revolutionary. Clearly, this has had the effect of forcing Qian to retreat even further into himself, cutting himself off from society to avoid the slightest taint of political subversion. During the mass hysteria of the Cultural Revolution, people were often arrested, tortured, and executed on the most trumped-up charges, including the "crime" that you were related to a known traitor or subversive. So one can understand why Old Qian becomes more ever more obstinate and solitary in response to the terrifying wave of repression sweeping China.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial