1. Describe the environment and setting of The Story of the Stone. What kinds of spaces are the characters inhabiting?
The book The Story of the Stone refers to the dogmas in reference to the Qing Dynasty. The book provides an articulate account of the issues affecting the daily activities of the Jia family. The Story of the Stone follows the family illustrating some of the family’s glory days as their life gets more troubled to the final decline. The story has a setting that portrays the protagonist of Jia Baoyu and Lin Dai-yu. An illustration of the Chinese culture and family bonds:
“The names of the senior generation …, adopted from those of their brothers …. The wife of your present worthy master, Mr. Lin, is the uterine sister of Mr. Chia. She and Mr. Chia Cheng and she went, while at home, under the name of Chia Min.” (Chapter two, par 55)
The book describes the relationship and the daily challenges the two characters face in their everyday interactions and the approaches and attitudes they have for each other. The Story of the Stone uses dreams, metaphors, allegories, and poems to illustrate the relevant moments in Chinese culture. The book also demonstrates the Chinese cultures about philosophy, family values, medicine, religion, and manners to describe a microcosm of society. The book critically expresses the different approaches and the perceptions the Chinese culture has on space. The space in the book exemplifies and embodies cultural and social phenomena and other characteristics of the Chinese thoughts and delusions. The spaces portrayed in the book The Story of the Stone include the formal and informal space, the kaleidoscope space, and the garden space.
2. What kind of attitude does Jia Zheng express toward his son, Jia Baoyu, in The Story of the Stone?
In chapter seventeen, the book The Story of the Stone develops the relationship between the father and the son that is between Jia Zheng and the so Jia Baoyu. Zheng has the settings of a strict Confucian father towards his son. Though the father is stern in the public, he secretly admires and understands that his son Baoyu has a talent. Following the death of Qin Zhong, Jia Zheng meets his son Jia Baoyu in the garden where he tests the son’s ability by challenging him to come up with the garden couplets. Jia Zheng also belittles the attempts by his son Baoyu and scolds him following the suggestions presented by the others. Even after scolding him, Jia Zheng continues to admire the couplets designed by Jia Baoyu an indication that he appreciates the son’s talent. The father is secretly proud of his son’s ability and adopts the learning the hard way approach to ensure that Jia Baoyu develops his skills significantly. Jia Zheng realizes that his son needs nurturing, and motivation to develop his talent but not excessive praise that would make him relax and comfortable with the established state. The father, Jia Zheng, is concerned about and is confident with his son’s wellbeing. Though he doesn’t realize that his son has the talent to design couplets the father has high confidence in the son. When the teacher notifies him of the son’s ability he decides to act immediately by providing him with an opportunity to prove his skills and expertise in their garden (chapter 17).