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 makes a loud entrance at the Jia residence?

2. What is the subject of the conversation Zhen Shi-yin overhears in his dream?

3. Who does the headmaster leave in charge of the school while he is on leave?

4. Who has a brief discussion with Lady Wang about Bao-yu's odd behavior?

5. Who do the Jia family throw a birthday party for?

Short Essay Questions

1. In what ways are fear of shame and being poor seen in Chapter 6?

2. Why does Xi-feng hush Bao-yu when he questions the drunken servant cursing the Jia family at the Ning house?

3. 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?

4. Despite his limited presence, what becomes clear about Bao-yu during the first few episodes that involve him?

5. Hypothesize over the influence Bao-yu's father has on him despite his consistently disapproving attitude towards Bao-yu.

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

7. What is your opinion of Aroma's decision to allow Bao-yu to "have his way" with her following her discovery of his dream?

8. How are Bao-yu's father's sentiments about Bao-yu depicted in Chapter 9?

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

10. Is the fact that Dai-yu is offered flowers last in Chapter 7 a reasonable reflection of her status in the house at that time?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

"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 3

The fact that Bao-yu eventually chooses to be with Bao-chai and not Dai-yu, his supposed predestined soulmate of the past and future, comes as a surprise. Discuss the reasons why the author would choose to take the narrative in this direction.

(see the answer keys)

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