The Dream of Red Chamber was written by a Chinese novelist, Tsao-Hsueh-chin in the 18th century. It is the theme of China’s fascinating and best-loved story. It is a Chinese ancient and modern first wonderful novel. Tsao Hsueh-chin depicts typical events and characteristic characters under typical circumstances, therefore, the decadence of the aristocrats in feudal society and the oppression of innocent and powerless young girls, boys, and slaves are vividly and classically presented. With such a broad social scene as the novel's background, Tsao Hsueh-chin describes with great care and precision a great number of vivid characters, both positive and negative, some primary and others secondary. Some characters, such as Pao-yu, Tai-yu, Hsi-feng , and Granny Liu have become popular characters for readers all over the world.
Tsao Hsueh-chin is very skillful in depicting characters that possess diverse individualities. For instance, Hsueh Pan and Hsueh Pao-chai are brother and sister, yet the former is a typical stupid dictator, while the latter is a standard feudal maiden. The author is also very successful in adopting various approaches to depict different characters according to their different social positions. He makes a point of reinforcing the main facets of the characters through multiple plots and from different angles, such as Pao-yu's love and sympathy for girls; Tai-yu's pride and aloofness, as well as her sentimental character; Pao-chai's hypocrisy, smoothness, and crookedness; Wang Hsi-feng 's wisdom and cruelty. All the features in their characters are described in remarkable, striking situations to leave unforgettable impressions on readers.
The novel gained much praise because of its artistic structure. But in order to fully present the rich and complicated social life, meet the demands of the development of characterization, and give out the purpose of exposing the conflicts and struggles within the Chia family, Tsao Hsueh-chin's novel gives special attention to the plot of the love story between Pao-yu and Tai-yu and to the waning prosperity, as well as the moral decline, of the Chia family. All the other characters and all of the many complicated events are related to these two main plot lines.
The novel was written in the 18th century, which was beyond the early 19th century. It is closely observed portraits of women, in particular, transformed the traditional Chinese novel and also challenged traditional gender norms.
The Chinese feudalism society is specially brutal to the woman. As we know, women were oppressed by the system rather than male. Under that system, women were dominated by male. Men outdo women. Women were treated as toys and tournaments.
Feminine liberty movements were inevitable of conflicting with men, though men were not the main object to struggle with.
Before the Dream of red Chamber, Chinese women have no respect and right in society. At that time, Tsao-Hsueh-chin was the only one who could see and appreciate women. He became the one that spoke out for women in his novel. Feminine tragedy had been played on the stage for hundreds of years in Chinese history. It was not occasional that Tsao was the first writer that pointed out it. He understood women and treated them with respects. He had a deep and insightful observation.
To be continue...Posted by HuiLin at December 15, 2004 07:09 AM