Granny Liu

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Granny Liu (Chinese: 劉姥姥; Pinyin: Liú Lǎolāo) is a character in Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber. She is an elderly country rustic and a distant relative of Lady Wang through "joining families" and marriage (i.e. they are not related by blood).

Granny Liu visits the Rongguo Mansion two times throughout the novel with her grandson Ban'er. Each time, they provide a sharp contrast to the Jia family members. Nevertheless, she is respected by everyone for her age and forthright nature, providing much comic relief, even for the Dowager. Each time, she also takes home many valuable gifts of clothing, money, food, family remedies, and livestock. In Cheng-Gao ending of the novel, Granny Liu visits Wang Xifeng before she dies and saves Qiaojie from concubineage.

There is an expression commonly known to modern Chinese people, relating to this character in the novel. The expression is: 刘姥姥进大观园. In traditional characters it is: 劉姥姥進大觀園. In pinyin this is: Liú lǎo lao jìn dà guān yuán. It means "Granny Liu visits the Grand View Gardens". It refers to a part of the novel where Granny Liu visits the noble family who host her, but also mock her openly for her simplicity. (Granny Liu is, however, unaware that the family is mocking her, and feels grateful for their generosity.) The expression is used in modern Chinese to describe someone, usually a simple unsophisticated person, who is overwhelmed by new experiences and luxurious surroundings.

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