Study Help Essay Questions


1. Discuss the significance of the novel and the contributions of the author.

2. Trace the purposes and intentions of Thao Hsueh-chin while writing A Dream of Red Mansions.

3. Cite examples and comment on the feudal official system and the feudal officials in the late Ching Dynasty.

4. Discuss the social satire behind these two names: Chen Shih-yin and Chia Yu-tsun.

5. Analyze the conflicts between the peasants and the landlords in the late Ching Dynasty, as illustrated in the novel.

6. Analyze the rebellious character of Chin Pao-yu, Lin Tai-yu, Tan-chun, and Ching-wen and discuss the significance of their rebellion at the time.

7. Compare the fate of women in feudal China and in modern China. Cite illustrative examples to support your arguments. What is the significance of the Begonia Poetry Club for the girls in Grand View Garden?

8. Are there any positive functions in the description of sorcery and superstition, such as the appearance of ghosts? What are the differences in Thao Hsueh-chin's descriptions and Kao Ngo's?

9. Discuss the roles of the Chin authorities, such as Lady Dowager, Lady Wang, and Wang Hsi-feng in the love tragedy. Who is most responsible — and why?

10. Analyze the characters of Aunt Hsueh, Hsueh Pao-chai, and Hsueh Pan and comment on their function in the novel.

11. What is the significance of the romantic descriptions of the Illusory Land of Great Void in regard to the tragic fate of the twelve beauties of Chinling?

12. Discuss the roles and functions of the maids and man-servants, such as Yuan-yang, Hsi-jen, and Tzu-chuan.

13. Discuss the social reasons for those who have committed suicide, such as Chin-chuan, Ching-wen, and Third Sister Yu.

14. Analyze the tragic fate of the actors and actresses in the late Cling Dynasty, as revealed in the novel.

15. Discuss the feudal marriage system and its effects, as described in the novel. Who are the victims? Why?