The Dream of the Red Chamber
One key in modern cultural theory is that in societies based on market economies, economic relations among commodities come to mimic, or take the place of, social relations among human beings. The world of objects, commodities, and money in the Dream of the Red Chamber is a remarkably complex one, and this world is indeed deeply interwoven with the social relations and individual status and identities of the inhabitants of the world of the novel. How do objects circulate, and how are they assigned value or price? How so these objects and their patterns of circulation and relations among them reflect back on the relevant human social relations? Choosing a manageable (i.e. small and focused) set of examples, discuss the significance of objects, commodities, and/or money in the novel.
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