The “Story of the Stone” by Cao Xueqin

Pages: 1
Words: 278

In the Story of the Stone, Jia Baoyu, a charming young man and the main protagonist of the story, is opposed to the character of Lin Daiyu, his cousin and love interest. The contradistinction between the two characters is sourced from their previous lives, as Baoyu was born as the incarnation of the Stone, a seemingly tough and profound symbol. On the other hand, Daiyu was born as the incarnation of the Crimson Pearl Flower, implying her beautiful and fragile nature. Both ying and yang contain each other’s opposite elements. Similarly, Baoyu’s solid nature is threatened by the fear of losing Daiyu, as he feels concerns “every waking minute of the day” and is not afraid of showing his fragile side by bursting into tears (Cao 122). Furthermore, even though Daiyu is described as a “delicate, flower-like countenance”, her actions are often mischievous, witty, and impulsive (Cao 109). However, in this relationship, the key difference that distinguishes the romance from other scholar/beauty novels is the fact that Baoyu and Daiyu are in the process of growing up together. The ending of the Story of the Stone also transcends the meaning of scholar/beauty novels.

At the end of the novel, Jia Zheng comes to the conclusion that Baoyu was “a being from higher realm” (Cao 588). He also notes that Baoyu passed the exams even though he was never seen “willingly work at his books” (Cao 588). Therefore, Baoyu always rejected the Confucianism practices of learned wisdom and studying to become a gentleman. He followed Taoism traditions of passive learning and Buddhism practices in going through the reincarnation process to “experience the trials of human life” and reach enlightenment.

Work Cited

Cao, Xuequin. The Story of the Stone.