The World of Chinese - - GROUP THINK -

The Red Cham­ber Study As­so­ci­a­tion at He­nan Nor­mal Uni­ver­sity is a stu­den­trun group that hosts lec­tures, plays, and dis­cus­sion groups based on the classic novel. TWOC asked the club to pro­vide their fa­vorite unan­swered ques­tions from the book.

Mys­tery of the Lin Fam­ily In­her­i­tance—

How did the fe­male pro­tag­o­nist, Lin Daiyu, go from be­ing the only daugh­ter of an af­flu­ent of­fi­cial to a pow­er­less de­pen­dent of her Jia relatives?

The Fate of Baoyu— What fate did the orig­i­nal au­thor in­tend for the pro­tag­o­nist? Or, if we ac­cept Gao E’s end­ing as canon, what hap­pens to Baoyu af­ter his mys­te­ri­ous dis­ap­pear­ance in Chap­ter 119?

The Fate of Jia Yuanchun— What caused Baoyu’s el­der sister, the im­pe­rial con­cu­bine, to lose the em­peror’s fa­vor and die (fore­shad­ow­ing the en­tire Jia clan’s fall from grace)?

The Death of Qin Ke­qin— Qin Ke­qin, Baoyu’s child­hood crush, mys­te­ri­ously dies in Chap­ter 13. Did she die from dis­ease or, as some redologists have sug­gested, did she hang her­self be­cause it was dis­cov­ered she had an af­fair with her fa­therin-law? The be­hav­ior of her two maid­ser­vants af­ter her death—one pub­licly kills her­self, the other of­fers to guard Qin’s body as her “hon­orary daugh­ter”—make the cir­cum­stances more mys­te­ri­ous.

The Con­spir­acy of the “Fate of Gold and Jade”— There are sym­bols through­out the novel that prophecy mar­riage be­tween Baoyu (born with a jade piece in his mouth) and his cousin Xue Baochai (gifted a gold locket by monks as a tod­dler). Are these ob­jects ac­tu­ally planted by his mother and aunt, who wished to el­e­vate their own fam­ily’s pres­tige through in­ter­mar­riage with the Jias?

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