The Story of the Stone (Dream of Red Chamber) readalong #storyofstonealong discussion

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Book I (Chapter 1-26) > Week 4 Chapter 22-28

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Meonicorn (The Bookish Land) (meonicorn) | 44 comments Mod
This is where we discuss about chapter 22 to chapter 28 of the book :)


message 2: by Foxed (new)

Foxed  Folios (foxedfolios) In ch23, explicit reference is made to the death of Bao-Yu’s brother. I’m wondering if Jia Zheng’s disappointment (dislike of?) in his only surviving legitimate son has been further fuelled by a sense that his only other legitimate male heir might have been more filial and better lived up to his expectations/demands?


Meonicorn (The Bookish Land) (meonicorn) | 44 comments Mod
FoxedFolios wrote: "In ch23, explicit reference is made to the death of Bao-Yu’s brother. I’m wondering if Jia Zheng’s disappointment (dislike of?) in his only surviving legitimate son has been further fuelled by a se..."

That's a great discussion point! Personally I don't think Jia Zheng doesn't like Baoyu, maybe he has a little disappointment towards Baoyu but mainly I feel he loves Baoyu very much.

For Jia Zheng, he's the only person in the family who has a job/title (?) in the imperial court, it is safe to say he's the person who support the whole family. His other son Jia Zhu was better in a transitional sense, but he has dead for a while. I think Jia Zheng's attitude to Baoyu was less a result of the two sons' comparison, but a result of a combination of:

1) high expectation: Baoyu was born differently, with the magic jade in his mouth, so people believe he's the chosen one, the person who can continue the Jia's legendary, so Jia Zheng (and everyone else) has high expectation to Baoyu.

2) The Jia's real situation: Although the Jia's is very rich and powerful, but like I said, Jia Zheng was the only person who supports the whole family, and his job was not hereditary. In other words, Baoyu needs to study hard to gain his social position. In this case, only the "right" talents should be encouraged because they can help Baoyu keep his social position, for example the study of Four Big Books.

3) Chinese tradition: it is normal for a father to be super strict with his children. "A strict father and a kind mother" or "a kind father and a strict mother" was kind of a Chinese tradition. In Jia's family, every women is super kind to Baoyu, so Jia Zheng has to play the super strict role to Baoyu.

But I think besides these reasons, Jia Zheng was actually proud of Baoyu. You can tell from chapter 17 when Baoyu was naming the buildings in the garden, and also from chapter 22 when Baoyu was guessing the lantern riddles - in those two situation, Jia Zheng's "strict" to Baoyu was kind of "has to" because there are so many people around, he needed to keep his fatherness. And as reason 2 indicates, I think Jia Zheng didn't allow himself to show his like to Baoyu on casual occasion, he didn't want to encourage Baoyu to learn things that was not "useful" because he was worrying Baoyu would lost himself to "not useful things" and wouldn't study well to get a title in the imperial court.


message 4: by Sandra (new)

Sandra | 9 comments Ooh the above is really helpful. I realised in chapter 23 that Jia Zheng isn't as mean as I thought. Clearly he just wants his only surviving son to be a bit more serious!
When Bao-yu asks people to taste their lipstick is he asking to kiss them? Pardon my ignorance!


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