Finding Love Within the Chaos: 歸墨 // Gui Mo

The following includes spoilers for Memories of a Graceful Reflection up to Chapter 5 as well as some of my thoughts on how these early chapters set the course for the narrative. For more information on the story and to read my translations, click here.

In Memories, heroine Murong Qing lives in a classic, patriarchal society where a woman’s power of choice, her livelihood, and even her existence belongs to her keeper, whether that be her father or her husband. The only thing that’s truly her own is her private thoughts and keen sense of observation. But because the story is told from the Murong Qing’s first-person perspective, our information is limited to what she knows.

Instead, author Feng Ning Xue Wu uses literary references and vivid metaphors to provide hints about the story and characters. I’ve already shared some information about the significance of the novel’s title here. This time, I’ll be discussing the names of Murong Qing and Nan Cheng Yao’s places of residence within the wang fu and their significance.

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Term of the Day: 桃花 // Tao Hua // Peach Blossoms

When Chinese speakers refer to peach blossoms, they’re typically talking about something other than the pretty flowers blooming on peach blossom trees.

In Mandarin, the word for peach blossoms is taohua and it serves as double entendre. Taohua can be used to describe someone’s admirer, potential love interest, and basically any romantic relationship they’ve come across, no matter how significant it is.

You can have bad tao hua and you can have good tao hua.

You can have a tao hua that’s gone stale or even one that’s never truly bloomed.

You can also have a lot of taohua, regardless of if they turn out good or bad.

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