The Nine Cloud Dreams Symbols & Objects

Kim Man-jung
This Study Guide consists of approximately 34 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Nine Cloud Dreams.
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Dreams

Each time a dream appears in the novel, it symbolizes the larger theme that reality is an illusion. Shao-yu's life is Hsing-chen's dream, and one of the themes of the novel is that the line between dream and reality is unstable, or perhaps nonexistent. As Shao-yu approaches enlightenment, he has strange dreams and becomes increasingly unsure if certain events are real or dreamed.

Names

Hsing-chen's and Shao-yu's names symbolize their status in the complex and layered reality of the novel. Hsing-chen means "Original Nature," and Shao-yu means "Small Visitor." The names signal to the reader from the beginning that Shao-yu is a temporary illusion seen by the realer Hsing-chen.

Disguises

The recurrence of disguises throughout the novel symbolizes the unstable nature of reality and identity. Depending on karma, souls are reincarnated into new corporeal forms over and over again until one reaches enlightenment. The disguises used...

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This section contains 658 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Nine Cloud Dreams Study Guide
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