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The Story of the Stone, or The Dream of the Red Chamber, Vol. 4: The Debt of Tears
Archives > 5. Main Ideas and Themes

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John Seymour 5. What main ideas—themes—does the author explore? (Consider the title, often a clue to a theme.) Does the author use symbols to reinforce the main ideas?

Book Wormy | 2064 comments Mod
Answered this in the last question.

Themes are spirituality, love and connection, reincarnation, fate and the fortune of ancient families.

message 3: by Pip (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pip | 1450 comments For me the most important aspect of the novel is the insight it gives into the aristocratic way of life in the late eighteenth century. There are great descriptions of what food was eaten, what medical practice was used, a detailed description of how people dressed, the importance of poetry and being able to quote from the Great Books, music, painting, architecture and interior and exterior design, gardening, and the reverence for natural phenomena such as the Mid-Autumn Festival, New Year, and Blossom Viewing which are still practised in modified form today. There is also strong Buddhist and Taoist influences which are mixed up with superstitious explanations for things, scorned by the intellectuals, but nevertheless practised. Very much like the pragmatic practices which have survived the Cultural Revolution and are still observed today. Nobody I knew in Hong Kong, for example, Westerner or Chinese, would move house or plan a wedding without consulting a neuromancer about the most auspicious date to chose.

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