Many online sources discuss the meaning and translation of Xiren's (袭人) name in Dream of the Red Chamber. But my question is that I recall there is some passage where the father Jia Zheng (賈政) gets angry when he discovers Baoyu has a servant named Xiren (袭人). I have not found this by searching commentaries or the text online. I have actually read the novel three times (in various translations) but now that I want to find this passage I have not been able to relocate it.

Can someone tell me where this passage is? Or does someone who knows the text well believe I am mistaken and there is no such passage?

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    ctext.org/hongloumeng/zh?searchu=賈政便問道誰叫襲人” roughly this paragraph 😺 Commented Jan 11, 2022 at 9:47
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    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jan 11, 2022 at 13:24
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    I believe it's more than just deeming a lowly servant girl unworthy of a poetic name. There is this mention of "濃詞艷詩" that's he's accusing Baoyu of spending too much time on. There are some pretty interesting online discussion on this.
    – monalisa
    Commented Jan 11, 2022 at 18:36
  • 贾政认为宝玉总在丫鬟身上浪费时间,内心非常不满意,认为男人应该有自己的事业,不能总跟女人泡在一起。
    – daotian
    Commented Jan 12, 2022 at 0:35
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    I agree with @monalisa and will add that this exchange took place in the chapter where 黛玉 ran into 寶玉 reading 西廂記 and was quite stirred emotionally. 西廂記 tells the story of an improper romance and was certainly considered illicit reading, so this context supports the interpretation that 賈政 was more angry that his son wasted time on this kind of distractions.
    – Elliot Yu
    Commented Jan 12, 2022 at 5:42

1 Answer 1


You are not mistaken. It is in Chapter 23, approximately the middle of the chapter.

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