Money and Beauty, aside from power, these are probably the most beloved matters by men in a patriarchal society. However, they were all to be destroyed or rather self-destructed once betrayal took place upon them. Their simultaneous fallen comes with tragic romance and judgemental evaluation behind. Du Tenth was portrayed as a woman with good heart, faith and she yearned for romance and love, even though she was lower class. She is a prostitute but hold admirable characteristics which should not be despised because of her humble origin.
According to Feng, men are coward who failed to consider women’s feeling and they are easily manipulated1. After long wait for a dependable man for the rest of her life, she chose Li Jia who only appeared to be kind and gentle because she is the one socialite whom the fact of being with her would satisfy his vanity in a great sense. After spending all his money, Li was not able to raise any more to buy Du Tenth off from the house. Du gave Li most of the money needed and got the exchange of coins with the Academy Scholar Yuchun who says, “It was not for your sake that I borrowed this money, but rather because I am moved by the sincere feeling of Du Tenth”2. One thing to be noted is the fact that Li did not actually offer anything for Du Tenth which might contribute to the easy giveaway of Du Tenth at the end. Li Jia is a man with little dominance and easy to manipulate. The financial failure in support his wife Du Tenth eventually leads to him being easily convinced to sell off Du Tenth in gaining money to favour his father and family. Du Tenth is madly in love with Li Jia and all she has in mind is to finally going for the pursuit of her dream of love and romance with her husband. The betrayal she experienced is a direct result of Li Jia not trusting in her. All his intentions in terms of financial gains and earning places in his family are simply telling the readers that Du Tenth is not worthy enough to actually become his wife and enter his family. Thanks to Li Jia, we are able to take advantage of the contrary to portray Du Tenth as the symbol for intelligence and will of adamant. Du Tenth planned every single detail from buying herself out of the house to the heavenly life she might have with Li Jia in marriage while Li Jia had absolutely no solution or thought on any of these matters. The courage and wisdom which Du Tenth holds helped building a better image for the reader on Li Jia about his cowardly personality and incompetent characteristics. Selfish Li Jia and selfless Du Tenth both left profound marks on their characters.
Unsurprisingly, Feng plotted the whole story regarding the most frequently present comparison between two matters, Love and Money. In this particular story, the “Jewel box” drew more attentions than anything else. It is the symbolic representation of every bit of tragedy from Du Tenth and it is also the origin of the anger and feeling of betrayal. Jewel box represents money on which the relationships between Du Tenth with Li Jia, Sun Fu, or with her madam in the house all depend. Moreover, that is exactly the reason why Du Tenth started saving up for her jewel box in the first place, hoped to exchange for Li Jia’s love. The jewel box not only symbolized the value of Du Tenth but also the sustenance of hope and future. The Du Tenth in the story is such a smart and beautiful woman who lived in hell both physically and mentally for long time period which she is willing to give all she got to escape from it. As a prostitute in the lowest social class, she is in a pursuit for true love, not temporary happiness nor regular marriage. She spent her entire life of saving in trying to prove her own inner value which certainly not the type of value that would label her as an object. By keeping the secret of jewel box, it might cost her the true love she was hoping to exchange for.
Additionally, the “jewel box” is a symbol for the dramatic conflict between the society…