The Dream of Red Mansions | Ancient Chinese Culture

The Dream of Red Mansions

The Dream of Red Mansions, also known as The Story of the Stone, is written by Cao Xueqin(1715—1763) and Gao E. This novel was born in the Qing Dynasty’s Qianlong period(1736~1799). It is the great milestone in the history of Chinese literature. As a symbol of our Chinese‘s glorious culture, it is regarded as one of the four classic literatures of China.

This novel has a beautiful legend at the beginning. There was a grass jelly, called Jiang Zhu, at the bank of Ling River, near the Sansheng Stone. Every day, Shen Ying, who is the attendant of Chi Xia Palace, watered it with sweet dew. So it grew well. 1000 years later, the grass jelly became a girl. She fell in love with the attendant and vowed that she would repay him with a life’s tear. Shen Ying and Jiang Zhu symbolize the hero and heroine in the novel. Later, when they first met, they actually felt familiar with each other. This romantic and sad love story ran through the novel.

This novel has its background of the legend of Jia, Shi, Wang, and Xue. It focuses on the affairs of both Rong and Ning mansions and the historical process from prosperity to decline of the two mansions. And the tragic love of Jia Baoyu and Lin Daiyu runs through it from beginning to end. These two aspects are inevitably influenced by each other. They are the pillar of this novel. The novel comprehensively describes an irreconcilable conflict of the late feudal society.

Cao Xueqin also fuses poetry and fiction perfectly together in this novel. He can well use poetry to show the characters, organize the story’s plots, and render the atmosphere. This is also an unprecedented success.

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