Cao Xueqin and a Dream of Red Mansions-Ending
After leaving the noisy and chaotic city, he contemplated the decline of his family and discovered that the society had grown rotten from the inside. Thus he started to write his novel The Story of the Stone (later renamed A Dream of Red Mansions), embodying his thoughts in the novel written with deliberate vagueness. Ten years later, he completed the 80-chapter book.
The novel is about four families - Jia, Shi, Xue and Wang - the despots of their area. They cruelly oppress civilians and wallow in luxury and pleasure; brothers and sisters-in-law are locked in open and smoldering strife, jockeying for position. Eventually they are reported to the authorities, and the emperor sends people to check on and confiscate the property of the Jia family. Later, the Shi, Xue and Wang families are also brought to justice and become impoverished.
In the Jia family, an unconventional young pair, Jia Baoyu and Lin Daiyu, both dissatisfied with their situation, become bosom friends, but people around them oppose their relationship. The four families in the book are a microcosm representing the entire ruling class; while Jia Baoyu and Lin Daiyu's rebellious spirit expresses Cao Xueqin's own resentment toward the society. Cao Xueqin devotedly poured all his experiences, conviction and talent into the novel. The novel is well constructed, the language fresh and cohesive; and the book creates many artistic characters with archetypal personalities. The novel represents the zenith of Chinese classics.
After Cao Xueqin died, handwritten copies of the novel spread, and more and more people came to learn of it. This literary masterpiece became a great sensation of the time. In modern times, research on A Dream of Red Mansions became a specialized subject called "Hongxue" ("Red" Studies), while experts studying the novel are called "Hongxuejia" (Red Studies specialists). There are many such specialists in China and abroad.