Red Azalea Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1490 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature

Red Azalea is the memoir of a Anchee Min, an American immigrant from China, about her life in the People's Republic of China during the Cultural Revolution. The book is in the form of a first-person narrative, detailing the events of Min's own life under Mao. A major theme is the abuse of power under Mao's regime and the sexual repression that Min herself felt as comrade carrying on a passionate same-sex love affair with another comrade.

Min wrote her memoirs during her first eight years in America in order to show her readers what life was like for an artistic and ambitious young woman who was loyal to Mao and the Communist ideology. Min was also something of a party insider, at one time being close to Mao's madam. She aims to present information about the Cultural Revolution that perhaps was not widely known at the time of its release in 1994.

Anchee Min was a bold and passionate young artist living in Mao's China. After becoming disillusioned with Communist ideology and its governing apparatus, Min fled to the United States in the 1984. Upon her arrival, she started work on her memoirs, which she finished and published in 1994.


The defining theme, expressed partly through metaphor, the betrayal of China by the Party's politicians. This is exemplified in the betrayal of stalwart female comrade Jiang Qing by Mao Zedong, who sent her to Moscow for political reasons. Anchee Min ties the story around the State-sponsored play glorifying Comrade Jiang Qing, of which Min was to play the title role. Anchee's eventual dismissal from the play is the cause of her disillusionment with PRC.

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Love is a key element of Red Azalea. The forbidden love that Anchee has for a fellow actress, Yan. The naive love that Jiang Qing had for the party and for Mao Zedong. Most of all, the love that the Chinese people once had for the Communist Party of China, so ardent and devoted yet betrayed

Anchee suffers the most intense betrayal as a zealot of Maoism. Anchee was the leader of the Little Red Guards in elementary school and wore red in honor of the Cultural Revolution. (3). Her father was a professor and her mother was a middle school teacher who taught whatever the party told her to teach. (3).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Red Azalea Assignment

For Anchee, the Cultural Revolution brought out the worst in people. Swept away by the rhetoric of fairness, the family of eleven who lived in a one-room dwelling downstairs, was embittered by the fact that Anchee's family of six lived in a four-room dwelling. (5). To recompense themselves, they poured excrement on Anchee's dwelling every day and threatened Anchee with an axe. (5-6).

Min, because of her educated background as well as her uncommon insight and sensibilities as an artist, is accused by a rival actress at the studio of being corrupted by bourgeoise influences. (272). Min understands that the accusations come from basic human jealousy, just as her childhood neighbors or Commander Lu's accusations did. (274-75).

The Cultural Revolution was hugely disruptive to society. Min casts it as a period where the powerless received the political authority to punish people, especially educated or well-off comrades, at their whim. They punished these people on the pretext of disloyalty or bouergoisie behavior, when their actual grievances seemed to arise from human jealousy, bitterness, and wrath.

Min also emphasizes the worship of Mao which dominated the era of the Cultural Revolution. Many people during this period used newspaper to wipe themselves after going to the bathroom. However, Min's mother was sent to hard labor because she happened to use a newspaper with Mao's image on it. (27).

Throughout the memoir, Anchee's ambition to be perfect and to please comes into conflict with her understanding of right and wrong. When her elementary school teacher Autumn Leaves, a Chinese-American who had come to China to teach, is accused of being a spy for the Imperialist Americans, Min is pressured to testify against her at a public trial. (42-3) Though she knows that the accusations are false, Min gives in to the pressure applied by comrade Secretary Chain and furiously berates Autumn Leaves. (46). Min never forgives herself for her betrayal of a devoted teacher who was not only innocent, but had cultivated a love of learning in her.

Min portrays the Cultural Revolution as a time where the model comrades, who wanted to do their best, also had to do things… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Red Azalea" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Red Azalea.  (2012, April 11).  Retrieved December 5, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Red Azalea."  11 April 2012.  Web.  5 December 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Red Azalea."  April 11, 2012.  Accessed December 5, 2021.