For ages, hundreds upon hundreds of eminent scholars have been contributing all their lifetime to the study of Dream of the Red Mansion, which is called “redology”. However, with the study going on, much more discussions emerge,making the book quite mysterious one to read. On this paper, i do not intend to increase its mystery.The only thing i am desirous to do is to illustrate two typical kinds of personality,which is shown vividly on Lin Daiyu and Xue Baochai. Because these two figures are commonly existing in our life, especially women. By analysing them, i will present my views on modern people at the same time.
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Lin Daiyu lives off her maternal grandmother after her parents’ death. Though Lin’s mother is the most loved daughter of her grandmother, her grandmother decreases love for Lin gradually because of her rebellious behaviours. The fosterage makes Lin feel inferior, thus she is by nature aloof, straightfoward. In her mind’s eye , only by behaving like that can she maintains her self-defense. . This thought dominates her formation of personality when in grandma’s home.
Throughout the “Dream of Red Mansions”, Lin gives people a sense of poetic.She has the required sensitivity of poets. Following is the translation of her poet by David Hawkes( an English famous sinologist),
Beside the half-raised blind,the half-closed door,
Crushed ice for earth and white jade for pot,
three parts of whiteness from the pear-tree stolen,
One part from plum for scent(which pear has not)-
Moon-maidens stithed them with white silken thread,
And virgins’ tears the new-made flowers did spot,
Which now,like bashful maids that no word say,
Lean languid on the breeze at close of day.
This version is relatively loyal to the origin.Lin also wrote Buring Fallen Flowers,Separation,Walking along Peach blossom Passage,etc.All these poems embody her talent. The author Cao Xueqin depicts an “ideal” woman–Lin. She is opposed to the feudalism ,and not subject to fate.With a rich and complex inward world,she often exhibits a figure of jealousy, narrow-mindedness. For example,one of her cousin sent hairpins to many girls , and Lin is the last one to get her hairpin.Then She said with anger,” I get the last hairpin that others don’t want”
Lin is sentimental, sometimes beyond most people’s understanding. When she sees the fallen flowers, she grieves for the fate of human being. Due to her parent’s death, whatever related to her homeland can recall memory of her parents and her experiences. Shedding tears becomes her habit whenever these memory call to her. Her jealousy for her beloved’s intimacy with other girls makes outsiders think her narrow-minded and mean. Yet, her way of pursuing pure love can be said brave. In Qing Dynasty, feudalism haunted everyone. We are surprised a fragile and scraggy girl should rebel against the feudalism and pursue the free love . She is not restricted by traditional feudal code of ethics. This kind of personality prolongs her glamour.
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In sharp contrast, Xue Baochai , born from a rich merchant family,sophisticated ,gets on well with others. Critics tend to dislike her for she conceals her true likes and dislikes. It’s no easy to know what kind of person she is . Wang MengÃ¯Â¼Ë†1980Ã¯Â¼â€° (Chinese renowned writer) once said,” Xue behaves as the feudal parents wish, hides her own feeling, know how to get along well with others.” From his words, we see no appraise on Xue. Indeed,the Xue kind of girl is not to the majority’s taste. However, I stubbornly believe Xue’s behaviours are influenced by the society then. We can still infer she is kind. Let me take an example: When her brother was bullied by someone, she made such a comment,”I know my brother . he’s good for nothing and he’s been rude all the time(p102).” Her sense of justice can be seen from this example.
Although Xue lives in a rich family, her family is declining . She just wants to protect her family. So, in order to achieve her goal, she has to find a “refuge” for her family. Some famous scholars ignore her thoughtfulness , criticizing her ruthlessly. I find it needless.
The reasons why Lin and Xue form their unique personality are connected with their surroundings. He(1948), a prominent poet , holds,”Generally, three reasons make what Lin is. First, the way feudalism pave for the women is not the choice Lin prefers. Second, Lin’s thought is affected by old thinking and literature. Third, her unfortunate life experience–parents’ early death has deep impact on Lin. Meanwhile , in my view, followings are the causes leading to Xue’s characteristics, to wit,
Firstly, even though her family is rich, they don’t have superior status in ancient China. Therefore, for her family, she strives to gain high status by marriage.
Secondly, her unconditional obedience to the old and the feudalism make her elusive.(p111)
At any rate , both Lin and Xue are the victims of the society at the mercy of feudalism but also the typical people in real life.
In modern society, a great many of Lins and Xues exist. Some people are straightforward , showing their feelings directly without any sham, while others hide their real feelings as far as possible. 100% of us prefer to choose a sincere friend , yet when a hypocritical person compliment us, we feel joyful unless we know clearly he is lying. Therefore, when one is with Lin , he will definitely sense uncomfortable. He must consider deliberately what Lin’s thinking, whether his actions will harm her ,etc. On the other hand, you will find yourself in love with Lin for her talent, her pursuit make her special. To get on with a person like Xue may be uninteresting. One may feel comfortable but lack passion to carry on. However , once you really understand her and make her your true friend, an original Xue will stand in front of you and treat you friendly.
Once someone asked me who I preferred to be, Lin or Xue, I resolutely chose neither. I believe in “Golden Mean”, so the fusion of their personality will be the best for me.
All in all,as far as I can see, one’s personality is influenced mostly by the circumstance he lives in, we are not qualified to criticize extremely others’. On the contrary , bearing tolerance to those who we don’t like is a virtue we need to learn.
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