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 is Qin Zhong?

2. What is the name of the Chinese town the story line switches too after the Taoist changes his name?

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

4. During what affair is Dai-yu seated at a place of honor?

5. Knowing she is to fulfill all of Bao-yu's needs, Aroma allows him to _____.

Short Essay Questions

1. Why would Dai-yu find it strange that Xi-feng appears to be in charge of household affairs?

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

3. Although the Jia family throws a spectacular birthday party for Jia Jing even though he refuses to leave the monastery to attend, much of the conversation centers on Qin-shi's puzzling illness. Hypothesize as to why this is.

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

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

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

7. In what ways is more of Xi-feng's character revealed in her thoughts about Qin-shi and her dealings with Jia Rui?

8. 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?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Describe the central dramatic device of the novel, the love triangle between Bao-yu, Dai-yu and Bao-chai, and how it is used to generate conflict and drama and to maintain the reader's interest.

Essay Topic 2

Choose one of the following characters and discuss his or her relationship with and impact upon Bao-yu.

• Xi-feng

• Aroma

• Qin-shi

• Qin Zhong

Essay Topic 3

Destiny and predestination is a central theme throughout the novel. What narrative devices does the author utilize to maintain the reader's interest in this idea through an atmosphere of inevitability that pervades the novel's subtext?

(see the answer keys)

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