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The Story of the Stone, or The Dream of the Red Chamber, Vol. 3: The Warning Voice
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message 1: by Book (last edited Jul 03, 2016 11:53AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Book Wormy | 2065 comments Mod
This book seems to be about the ending of the era of the great houses, while defending her maids from suspicion of wrong doing Tan-Chun says;

"No doubt our time too is coming, slowly but surely. A great household like ours is not destroyed in a day. "The beast with a thousand legs is a long time dying." In order for the destruction to be complete, it has to begin from within"

Chapter 74.

I think she is referring to all the jealous activities that have taken place in this installment but particularly to the behavior of Xi-Feng what do you think? and what are you expecting from the next book?


message 2: by John (new) - added it

John Seymour I thought it was not just the jealous activities, but the signs of corruption within the household, and the potential for rumors of inappropriate behavior. I think the story about the sudden destruction of another great house in the capital is intended as a presentiment of the impending doom of these houses, as was this passage.

I also thought the constant reminders about how tight money was, and how little anyone other than Xi-feng is aware of or cares about the finances.

I am expecting some disaster to strike in the next book. Something has to happen, I'm getting tired of reading about teenage angst and the properties of various blossoms.


Book Wormy | 2065 comments Mod
How can you possible be bored of all that flower poetry? ;)

Its the drinking that gets me surely they are all going to die of liver disease.


message 4: by Anna (new)

Anna Fennell | 107 comments Thank you Book for bringing up the drinking. How potent is this wine? How big are these cups? So many questions about that :)


message 5: by Anna (new)

Anna Fennell | 107 comments I definitely feel that being part of a great house one must have a certain sense of decorum and that the second generation in this family lacks it. They seem to have no understanding of money and they have a very self-centered focus. This will eventual cause the family's ruin.

I agree with John. Something must happen soon. I cannot take much more teen angst either.


message 6: by John (new) - added it

John Seymour Anna wrote: "Thank you Book for bringing up the drinking. How potent is this wine? How big are these cups? So many questions about that :)"

About the cups - When in Chicago a couple weeks ago, we stopped by the Chicago Museum of Fine Art and visited the Asian wing - they had on display a number of cups and such - some of the cups were huge. I thought about the drinking games here and Crikey!!


message 7: by Patrick (new) - added it

Patrick Robitaille | 976 comments Anna wrote: "Thank you Book for bringing up the drinking. How potent is this wine? How big are these cups? So many questions about that :)"

We are talking about rice wine here, which is quite potent. On my two visits to China, I have partaken in a few dinners copiously accompanied with rice wine and can testify about its potency :-). Generally, these days, the alcohol in rice wine content varies between 50 and 55%. Unlike the bigger cups that John saw at the museum, the cups used today are much smaller, a little bit less in volume than a "Western" shooter glass. Despite the fact that it is widely available in China, good rice wine is expensive, around $200 a 500ml bottle (e.g. Moutai brand); I am not sure whether it was relatively as expensive back to the Story of the Stone days, but I think their consumption might also explain part of their financial troubles.


message 8: by Jen (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen | 1608 comments Mod
I agree with John, to me the jealousies were not the point. The main issue was the corruption, the petty fighting (maybe triggered by different sorts of jealousy), unfair treatment of some of their domestic staff, financial difficulties, etc.

I'm pretty sure John is right and that we can expect to see something bad happening soon.

Oh and the wine... Yes! It does seem amazing the amount they can consume and how much of a role drinking played in family lives.


Diane  | 2051 comments I think the family dynamic is definitely changing as the younger generation comes of age. Jealousy seems to play some part in this, but there are a lot of larger issues at hand. I expect to see more dramatic changes evident in the fourth book.


message 10: by Pip (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pip | 1451 comments I forget the question: but about the drinking... I assumed that the cups they were drinking out of were tiny. It is interesting that alcohol was such a part of their entertainment. Most Chinese lack an enzyme to process alcohol in the liver and find drinking it distasteful. They also become very red in the face after even a small quantity. So I thought that they were drinking small cups of weak wine. I am probably wrong!


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