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The novel, Story of the Stone, and play, Tartuffe, are similar in many ways because they reflect the era and the family, the most important institution.

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Introduction

Short stories often reflect the era in which they are written. The society of an age is through the eyes of the characters and experiences that they incur throughout the stories. The novel, Story of the Stone, and play, Tartuffe, are similar in many ways because they reflect the era and the family, the most important institution. Parents and their children define the family, although these families prove differently. The setting for Story of the Stone is China and Tartuffe is placed in France during the 17th and 18th century, although the basis of their family is very similar. A traditional Chinese family would follow the ethics outlined by Confucius. His golden rules for the family would include love, reverence, respect, and humanity. In the Story of the Stone, one would assume that the Jia Family, an elite Chinese household, would follow the principles of Confucius. However, in the analysis it is evident that the Jia Family does not follow the principles of Confucius. Confucius stated that the parent and child should have a relationship that is loving and reverential. Jia Zheng, the father, and his children have an abusive relationship. Bao-yu, his son, fears his father's wrath and is described by Cao Xueqin, the author, as being "hypnotized by fear" (Xueqin, 243). When Jia Zheng instructs Bao-yu to "stay where you are" (Xueqin, 246), he knew it was inevitable that there was no good that could come from this meeting. ...read more.

Middle

Having concubines is an accepted practice in this culture and being a part of the family as a concubine is an honour. Aroma, the chief maid to Bao-yu, is a dominant personality in his life, giving him advice and gives him sexual satisfaction. Bao-yu gives her precedence over the other maids in their social hierarchy. She is able to converse with the members of the family on another level, even Dai-yu says, "I always think of you as my sister-in-law" (Xueqin, 226). When arguments ensue, Aroma is the person which tries to appease everyone by using her wit. In an argument with Skybright and Bao-yu, Aroma tries to make things calm, but Bao-yu instantly stands up for Aroma, "I'll make her a 'Miss' then; I'll make her my chamber-wide tomorrow, if that's all that's worrying you, you can spare your jealousy on that account" (Xueqin, 244). She explains to the jealous Skybright, that they should go elsewhere and discuss the matter further. This shows the affection and respect that Aroma has gained from her master, Bao-yu and she knows her place in the hierarchy. Her strong mindedness and wit resembles the qualities shared by Dorine in Tartuffe. In France, the religion that they have to conform to is Christianity. The family is a microcosm of the social hierarchy. The head of the family, the father, is a representation of the King who is appointed by God. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mariane, Orgon's daughter, is promised to her love, Valere, although she is later promised to Tartuffe. She relies on Dorine to speak on her behalf because she is unable to tell Orgon how she feels. Orgon insists, " Yes, Tartuffe shall be/ Allied by marriage to this family, /And he's to be your husband, is that clear? /It's a father's privilege..." (Moliere 2.2. 28-30.) Mariane relies on Dorine to speak to her father trying to convince him that this marriage should not be, "To give a girl like her to a man like him? /When two are so ill-suited, cant you see/ what the sad consequence is bound to be?" (Moliere2.2 49-51) The family is the centre of the society which the basis is patrilineal descent. Even though the man is the head of the household, it can clearly be send that the father is not always reasonable and just. In both novels, this can be seen as the moral, that the person in power may be blinded and not realise it. The women are suppressed, although they so express their feelings which in reality they would not be able to. Dorine and Aroma are examples of the maids who had power and had the ability to speak freely. The family harmony and the roles are disrupted. The moral in the Story of the Stone is that the world is an illusion, and in Tartuffe persons may not be what they seem, an illusion. This illusion may be the cause for the dysfunction in the families. ...read more.

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