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The Multiple Symbolizing Significance of Kunqu Opera Peony Pavilion in Its Homonymous Novel

Author: YuHaoMo
Tutor: WangYi
School: Huazhong University of Science and Technology
Course: Contemporary Chinese Literature
Keywords: Peony Pavilion Novel Kunqu Opera Symbol Cultural homesickness
CLC: I207.42
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2010
Downloads: 61
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Abstract


Baixianyong’s short novel“Peony Pavilion”is one of his greatest master pieces—“This is an extremely exquisite work, as well as a distinguishingly grandiose one. Innumerous theses and articles concerned with its dictation, images, style, structure, technique, theme and meaning are produced, owing to the fact that, an authentic master piece must be loaded with meanings and always stands up for delving, as well as the fact that, a truly substantial work must be impregnated with serious life experience, in order to transcend individual experience, extending to the common feelings of human beings, and gaining a historical and cultural deepness.Abovementioned applies to Baixianyong’s case. Weaving into the novel“Peony Pavilion”are the ruggedness of life experiences, the ruthlessness of time and history, the sigh in front of life’s drama, the cultural-homesickness haunting and ever growing, as well as the longing to returning, which are revolving to the signifier“dream”. Those are Mrs. Qian’s startled dreams of youth, love and glamour, North Taiwanese aristocracy’s ineffable dreams of deserted hometown, the dreams of no returning golden times and the dreams of declining prime culture.All those dreams are correlated with each other by Kunqu Opera“Peony Pavilion”—Miss Du’s romantic dream in the opera paralleling with Mrs. Qian’s in the homonymous novel, meanwhile forming between the two a stark contrast. Mrs. Qian’s dreams are actually recollected through the representation of the Kunqu Opera“Peony Pavilion”in the banquet.Not only is this piece of opera in the novel sung on Mrs Q’s stage, discussed during the banquet, but also exists in reality and on stage, which brings forth dreamy atmosphere. Therefore, Kunqu Opera“Peony Pavilion”becomes a symbol, symbolizing the past beauty, the quest for tradition, for Mrs. Q, for the North Taiwanese aristocracy as well as for the author.

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