53 pages 1 hour read

Anchee Min

Red Azalea

Nonfiction | Autobiography / Memoir | Adult | Published in 1994

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Key Figures

Anchee

Content Warning: This section of the guide discusses a false accusation of sexual assault.

Anchee functions as the protagonist of all three parts of Red Azalea, as she narrates her journey from student of the revolution to farmer to set clerk at a movie studio in Shanghai. As both the main character and the narrator, Anchee reports all dialogue, and given the personal nature of Min’s account, the true accuracy of the memoir’s details remains unknown. As her roles within the Cultural Revolution evolve, Anchee grows and changes significantly, as do her political leanings. This pattern illustrates her dynamic character as she transforms from the member of the Little Red Guard who denounces her teacher Autumn Leaves to the set clerk who learns to value and honor her individual desires far more than her Party affiliation.

In each of the three parts, Anchee has at least one different profession, position, or occupation. She acts as the big sister for her three siblings in Part 1, excelling in school, becoming a Mao activist, and earning membership in the Little Red Guards. In Part 2, she is ordered to become a peasant at the Red Fire Farm as part of the reordering of Chinese society, and it is here that she meets Yan, the commander of the farm and her first love interest.

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