The Story of the Stone, or The Dream of the Red Chamber; Volume 1: The Golden Days Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Cao Xueqin
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Who does Dai-yu learn she will be living with even though it is not customary for girls to live with boys?

2. They reach the Ford of Error where Bao-yu finds himself being pulled into _____.

3. Who makes a loud entrance at the Jia residence?

4. Who reveals sexual feelings for Xi-feng to her around the time of the birthday party?

5. Who performs Disenchantment's A Dream of Golden Days for Bao-yu?

Short Essay Questions

1. Explain the symbol of Greensickness Peak in relation to the rest of the novel.

2. How does Bao-yu use family ties to his advantage during the events at the school?

3. What thematic devices can be drawn from Bao-yu's relationship with women both during his dream and afterward?

4. What can be understood from the events surrounding the situation at the school in regard to other school children making fun of the boys of the Jia clan?

5. Describe Bao-yu's relationship to alcohol in Chapter 8.

6. What can be understood from Chinese diplomatic culture when considering Bao-yu's meeting with Prince Qinzhong?

7. What does the story of Ying-lian and Feng Yuan suggest about the role of fate and karma in the world of the novel?

8. How is the divide between rich and poor developed in Chapter 2?

9. What can we understand from Zhen Shi-yin's dream in the first chapter?

10. Explore the significance of Bao-yu's inability to understand the songs the fairies sing to him about his family history, how to improve himself, and the fates of the women of the household.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

"In The Story of the Stone, the keeping of secrets frequently benefits all concerned." In your perception, is this statement true or false? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 2

Is the author justified in including a large number of coincidences (for example Dai-yu visiting Bao-chai at the same time as Bao-yu, or Xi-feng entering the room just as Patience confronts Jia Lian) in the novel? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 3

Because he is won over and particularly moved by the story of the stone, it could be said that Vanitas (later Brother Amor) is the character readers should identify with most. Comment upon this idea, explaining in the process how or why the story is "not just another erotic romance" as the stone itself says.

(see the answer keys)

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