Wild Ginger Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Wild Ginger

Houghton Mifflin, Apr 2002, 23.00, 217 pp.
ISBN: 0618068864

    Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s and early 1970s is a dangerous place as Chairman Mao and his devoted horde demand self-sacrifice for the good of the cause. Quiet and innocent Maple loses her father to the labor camps. Because the crimes of the parents are bestowed upon the children, his minor infraction leaves Maple open to “umbrella” beatings by Maoist mouth Hot Pepper and her gang. No one dare intercede for fear of anti-Maoist branding, the worst state crime.
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    New student half-breed WILD GINGER and Maple become friends as expected of two outcasts. Their friendship struggles to survive the male test when Red Guard Evergreen falls for Wild Ginger while Maple desires him. As WILD GINGER becomes a national hero for exposing “criminals” like her mother and fishy black marketers, Maple and Evergreen become engaged. However, devoted Maoist WILD GINGER denounces him as a traitor placing Evergreen and Maple in danger from the overzealous Maoists.

    WILD GINGER is a tremendous psychological dramatization of the excesses of the Chinese Cultural Revolution by looking inside the minds to the fears of the people. The audience feels the motives and psychological deprivation of the key players and some of the secondary characters as everyone struggles to survive in a world accentuating Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Need. One derogatory comment means the Maoist equivalent of the guillotine. Anchee Min is one of the best historical fiction writers on the market today as her accounts of China in the middle of the last century is incredibly insightful but entertainingly well-written.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Wild Ginger

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1960's-1970's Political/social activism    -   Yes Plotlet:    -   general liberal/left wing activism    -   fighting government corruption    -   fighting discrim. (other than racial/gender) Ethnic/Regional/Religion    -   Chinese Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book War/Revolt/Disaster on civilians    -   Yes Ethnic/regional/gender life    -   Yes Conflict:    -   Revolution, general

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   Chinese


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   4 () Asia/Pacific    -   Yes Asian country:    -   China

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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