The Dream of the Red Chamber
“The Dream of the Red Chamber”, also known as “The Story of the Stone”, is one of the greatest novels of Chinese literature.The fifth part of Cao Xueqin’s magnificent saga, “The Dreamer Awakes”, was carefully edited and completed by Gao E some decades later. It continues the story of the changing fortunes of the Jia dynasty, focussing on Bao-yu, now married to Bao-chai, after the tragic death of his beloved Dai-yu. Against such worldly elements as death, financial ruin, marriage, decadence and corruption, his karmic journey unfolds. Like a sleepwalker through life, Bao-yu is finally awakened by a vision, which reveals to him that life itself is merely a dream, ‘as moonlight mirrored in the water’.
Once upon a time the goddess Nv Gua level several thousands pieces of stone to repair the damage post of heaven. One extra stone that did not fit and as discard at the foot of a mountain.
This ethereal stone discover a lovely but frail but celestial camp by the river of the spirits in the west. Everyday it watered
the plants with sweet dew the plant nourished by the dew took essence of heaven and earth. After centuries of polishing the stone took on human forms and descended to earth and becoming the hero and heroin of the dream of the red chamber a complex brilliant and profound drama.
Among the Chinese classics the dream of the red chamber has been most widely red and studied by the general public and scholars its conception in the later part of the 18th century. Besides its mythical beginning more then 400 human characters come to life in the Jia palace throughout the one hundredth and twenty chapters of this book. They vividly and realistically unveil a pure world and the spiritual world and the love and hatred and the good and evil desiccant and consonant.
For over one hundredth years the dream of the red chamber has attracted millions of people from all walks of life. It especially appeals to young people because the entire antagonist in the story is young as well. The book is a masterpiece due to its vast repertoire and reservoir of artistic achievements the bound philosophy of life simultaneously coupled with a compelling love story.
The hero of the dream of the red chamber is the human form of the discard ethereal stone. He was born holding a precious stone in his mouth and so named Bao Yu precious stone. He is the lifeblood of the Jia family protagonist of the love story and preacher of the philosophy of life. The main plot of the novel is the entangle love triangle among Bao Yu the imperial stone Xian Yu the transform celestial plant and Dai Yuthe destine earthly love possessing the gold medallion with an inscription matching the one on the precious stone from the couple. The secondary plot evolves around the rise and decline of the Jia family.
A series of events of characters unfold around these two plots the detailed and structured analysis of the entwined relationships among the novels innumerous characters. Enable the readers to get a thrall understanding of the rise and decline of a prominent family and a taste of love and hatred joy and sorrow and reunion and separation.
The author Cao Xueqin was born in the early part of the 18th century during the period of emperor Kong Xi and died in the 27th year of reign of emperor Chin in the Ching dynasty. Historical research reveals that the personal experiences of the authors bare striking similarities to the events setting of this novel.
Bao Yu is protagonist was a pampered child who faced high expectations he took no interest in fame or wealth but rather indulged himself in the company of androgen of female playmate from both high and low classes. He proclaimed that girls are creatures of water and that he could feel that freshness and cleanliness. Whereas men are the beams of slim he was overwhelmed by turbulence and filthiness merely by catching a sight of them. This is not a casual remark dropped by our hero.Indeed his whole life from his thoughts and feelings to his expressions and demeanor evolved around his contempt for fame and wealth His devotion to love and soul and his conspicuous opposition to patriarchal tradition.
The author successfully portrays many distinct female characters beaming with talent pose innocents and grace. Each drawing her own crowd the most important character other the leading male role of Bao Yu are twelve young ladies known as the twelve beauties of the imperial mausoleum. One of the distinct characteristics of this book is the great esteem given to women.
In this book even those chambermaids with rather low social status are given distinctive and unforgettable personalities. Being upright passionate loyal capable and efficient, Worth mentioning are the poem that the characters every count event. The author’s literary feats enable him to weave poetry in the pros and bleat personality and talent by presenting their inner woes. In a reflection of cultural and spiritual life of his time these poems for shadow the future developments of the plot as well as the fate of the books characters.
The elder daughter of the Jia family was name Yuan Chun and she was exulted as an imperial consort and granted a visit to her family. This family was wealthy and aristocratic and built a splendid and magnificent park to welcome her so those he young girls determined Bao Yu moved into the park. And in their new living quarters they enjoyed freedom like never before so they transformed the park into a kingdom of youth till it was passing dreams laughter and tears. The luxurious park then became a venue for gathering and as well as parties but however their heathenish lifestyle kept interrupting life styles of the family eventually drove was their downfall.
The luxurious park became a venue for frequent gathering and feasts, the promulgate and corrupting lifestyle of the family manifested in every gathering and feast sowed the seed of its ruin.
I buried the flower petals today they laugh at my foolishness when I die who will tend my tomb.
A poem written by Dai Yu her proclivity for being over sensitive and sentimental and her forlorn childhood are embodied in this poem. Orphaned and wretched; she was taken in by her maternal grandmother at a young age. She is a gifted beauty, proud a luck and eccentric but fragile and delicate. Thou her heart beats in harmony with Dai Yushe was thawed to her lifetime pursuit of perfect love. Owing largely to her external factors and partly to her own personality flaws. This poem represents a self-fulfilling prophecy of her tragic destiny.
Another hero Bao Chai is total different from Dai Yu except for her literary gift of beauty. She stands out among her peer as a worldly calm sedate an elegant young woman. Thou attractive and charming she lack the chased and romantic qualities of Dai Yu. Measured against traditional female virtues her disposition and demeanor make her the perfect candidate for the wife of a young aristocrat. In an arranged wedding, Bao Yu married her.
At the same time seaming joyful and lively moments the exhausted and desperate Dai Yu approaches the end of their life in complete isolation.
In addition to the tortured past by the leading characters every single person experienced there own ups and downs. Conflicts suffering and struggles start a few roads of life in there wonderful life. And so the paradise no longer can stand up to the impact of the outside world. Finally the Jia family abandons the palace and the splendor of it was lost forever. So this story depicts the rise and fall of the Jia family and its members.
Along with the family the declining fame and wealth the dark and desolate shadow is cast over Eden where the young members of the family take refuge. Under the same clear sky with the same moonlight hearing the same music the same people same feast but not the same atmosphere. Nor the same feeling everyone know deep in their hearts that this mundane earthly beauty delight will soon vanish.
Having lived through a separation and death and the decline of family our hero Bao Yu finally came to understand the emptiness of a material world. After he fulfilled his filial duties by marrying chi the women handpicked by his parents and passing his examinations for civil servant he returned to his spiritual origin and became a monk.
The story has now came full circle the precious stone eventually reverts to its ethereal address the tragic twist to the ending of the book brakes away from the shackles of traditional Confucian values and conventional happy endings.
In the dream of the red chamber the author communicates the deception of life and denounces the material world. He successfully depicts and portrays the characters and allows the reader to identify with family member’s friends and relatives and give the book influences that are positive as well as an outlet.