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Dream of Red Chamber

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Submitted By zhu0918
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Journal on Chapter 73-80 Through the last nine chapters, we can clearly see Bao-yu’s rebellious attitude towards the feudal Chinese system. From the previous chapters, we know that Bao-yu is very talented at poetry things, however, he stands aloof from worldly success. He doesn’t want to like his father. All he wants to do is to stay out of the officialdom. As Cao writes in chapter 73, “He had always detested this style of writing in any case. The Sage himself didn’t write that way, he argued, so how could one hope to expound the inner meaning of his teachings through such a medium” (Cao, 437). From this excerpt, we know that Bao-yu really despises the traditional test system. He thinks all the tests are mediocre. They are not comparable to those Sages’ works. Also, as Cao writes, “Before he left, Jia Zheng had selected a hundred of these essays for him to read; but Bao-yu had only glanced at them occasionally, reading a paragraph here and a paragraph there as some particularly felicitous expression or the extravagance. He had never settled down to the serious analytical examination of even a single essay” (Cao, 147). In ancient China, the writing test for official selection is really vital, but Bao-yu seems to be reluctant on it. Bao-yu wants to be whom he is instead of imitate other people. Moving onto chapter 74, lots of things take place in this chapter. Wang Shan-bao and his wife are not happy with Skybright. So they decide to set up a trap in order to kick Skybright out of the House. As Wang Shan-Bao’s wife says, “The worst of the lot is that Skybright that works in Bao-yu’s room. Because she’s a bit better-looking than the others and a bit readier with her tongue, she goes around dolled up all the time like a Xi-shi, putting everyone else in their place. If you say the slightest little thing to offend her, up fly her eyebrows and she will begin telling you exactly what she thinks of you” (Cao, 463). Because of the words from Wang Shan-bao’s wife, there will be a big search in the big mansion. I think the course of action is a foreshadowing of what eventually will happen to Jia’s family. Chapter 75 tells us that the Jia’s family is not at their peak anymore. Grandmother Jia intends to have a mid-autumn party, but this one is not comparable to those previous one. In the past chapters, Cao writes quite a few descriptive things about the party, very extravagant and intricate. However, the Jia family can no longer live like this, “Meals are made to measure nowadays, we can’t afford to be extravagant the way we used to be” (Cao, 498). Chapter 77 also shows us the difficult situation in Jia’s house. Lady Wang needs some good ginseng to make some pills. However, Jia’s family cannot afford ginseng anymore. And in this chapter, Lady Wang asks servant to kick Skybright out. Bao-yu finally gets a chance to go out to see Skybright. Skybright cuts her nails and gives her inner cloth to Bao-yu, and eventually dies. This is really sad. To me, Skybright are different from other servants. She is just like Bao-yu, rebellious to the feudal Chinese system. However, her intelligence is not appreciated by those households. From these nine chapters, we can see the trends that Jia’s family is getting worse and worse and eventually will be punished by the government.

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