1. What is it?
Jealousy is a feeling of insecurity or fear brought about by the possibility of losing something or someone, particularly to a rival.
Jealousy is different from envy. Envy is wanting what another person has. Jealousy is insecurity about Losing what you have to another.
Jealousy can lead to a person acting bitterly against either the rival, or the person they have in their life.
2. How is it made?
|A character has an emotional bond to an object or person. This does not have to be requited.||A rival appears that the character thinks is going to take the object or person away.|
|The character becomes jealous, leading to protective, angry, spiteful, or bitter behaviour. This may be against the rival or the original object or person.||This behaviour leads to a destructive outcome, often ironically resulting in the original object or person leaving or being destroyed.|
3. Examples in literature
Wives and Concubines
Know Your Book
by Su Tong
Title: 妻妾成群 (*trans: Wives and Concubines)
Author: 童忠贵 (Su Tong) (1963- )
Genre: Fiction; novel; family drama
Plot: Lotus chooses to become the fourth concubine of Chen Zuoqian after her family loses its money. Her relationships with the other women are poisonous: first mistress Joy ignores her; second mistress Cloud befriends her, but is deceitful; and both third mistress Coral and servant Swallow openly hate the new arrival. The five fight and lie to gain favourable positions in the house, but hold their own dangerous secrets. Eventually the vindictive behaviour leads to tragedy for multiple characters.
Setting: Chinese household; 1930s
Characters: Lotus; Cloud; Coral; Swallow; Chen Zuoqian; Joy; Feipu
Excerpt (translated from Chinese):
Chen Zuoqian’s hand moved from Lotus’s breast to her mouth. “Don’t talk. Don’t talk now.”
Just at that moment someone knocked lightly on the bedroom door. The two of them were startled; Chen Zuoqian looked at Lotus and shook his head, then put out the lamp. In a little while the knocking started again. Chen Zuoqian jumped up and shouted angrily, “Who’s that knocking?”
A timid girlish voice came from the outside the door. “Third Mistress is sick; she’s calling for the Master.”
Chen Zuoqian said, “She’s lying, lying again. Go back and tell her I’ve already gone to bed.”
The girl outside the door said, “The Third Mistress is very sick; she says you have to come. She says she’s about to die.”
Chen Zuoqian sat on the bed and thought for a minute, mumbling to himself, “What’s she up to this time?” Lotus watched his uneasiness, then pushed him. “You’d better go. It would be terrible if she really died.”
|Skimming, Scanning and Basic Comprehension|
1. What is Chen Zuoqian trying to do before the knocking at the door?
2. Why has the third mistress sent a messenger to Chen Zuoqian and Lotus?
3. What is Chen Zuoqian’s first reaction to hearing the messenger’s request from the third mistress?
4. What epithets are used in this passage?
5. What example of hyperbole does the third mistress use? Why?
6. What irony exists at the heart of Chen Zuoqian’s life, as shown in this passage?
7. How would the passage change if the last line is read as sarcastic?
8. In what way is Chen Zuoqian’s frustration shown in words and actions? Give examples.
9. Compare Chen Zuoqian’s attitude towards the third mistress and Lotus. What is different?
10. Based on this passage, what sort of person is Lotus?
11. How are servants talked about in this passage?
12. In what way is jealousy suggested in this passage? How does it set up later conflict or destructive behaviour?
13. Do you think Chen Zuoqian has a happy life? How about Lotus? And the third mistress?
14. In this story, Lotus is the fourth and latest mistress. What do you feel about her relationship with Chen Zuoqian? What do you think will happen later in this story?
15. Wives and Concubines is set in imperial China, when mistresses and concubines were a part of wealthy married life. Do you think a system formalising the idea of multiple partners has any benefits?
Know Your Book
by Leo Tolstoy
Title: Анна Каренина (*trans: Anna Karenina)
Author: Лев Толстой (Leo Tolstoy) (1828-1910)
Published: 1873-1877 (serial) 1878 (novel)
Genre: Fiction; novel; family saga; tragedy
Plot: Anna comes to Moscow to fix her brother Stiva’s marriage to Dolly after he is caught having an affair. At a ball, Dolly’s sister Kitty rejects Stiva’s idealistic friend Levin because she is enamoured with Vronsky, but he dances with Anna. Anna and Vronsky begin a passionate affair, but unable to get a divorce she abandons her marriage and son. Meanwhile, Levin and Kitty unite, with Levin now a farm owner. Their happiness contrasts the misery now befalling Anna and Vronsky.
Setting: Moscow; St. Petersburg; Europe; a farm; mid-19th century
Characters: Anna Karenina; Count Levin; Vronsky; Stiva Oblonsky; Dolly; Kitty
Excerpt from Part 6, Chapter 32 (translated from Russian):
Before Vronsky’s departure for the elections, Anna had reflected that the scenes constantly repeated between them each time he left home, might only make him cold to her instead of attaching him to her, and resolved to do all she could to control herself so as to bear the parting with composure. But the cold, severe glance with which he had looked at her when he came to tell her he was going had wounded her, and before he had started her peace of mind was destroyed.
In solitude afterwards, thinking over that glance which had expressed his right to freedom, she came, as she always did, to the same point—the sense of her own humiliation. “He has the right to go away when and where he chooses. Not simply to go away, but to leave me. He has every right, and I have none. But knowing that, he ought not to do it. What has he done, though?… He looked at me with a cold, severe expression. Of course that is something indefinable, impalpable, but it has never been so before, and that glance means a great deal,” she thought. “That glance shows the beginning of indifference.”
And though she felt sure that a coldness was beginning, there was nothing she could do, she could not in any way alter her relations to him. Just as before, only by love and by charm could she keep him. And so, just as before, only by occupation in the day, by morphine at night, could she stifle the fearful thought of what would be if he ceased to love her. It is true there was still one means; not to keep him—for that she wanted nothing more than his love—but to be nearer to him, to be in such a position that he would not leave her. That means was divorce and marriage. And she began to long for that, and made up her mind to agree to it the first time he or Stiva approached her on the subject.
|1. The passage primarily describes|
a) Anna’s fear Vronsky will abandon her
b) Vronsky’s departure for the elections
c) Anna’s relationship with Stiva
d) Anna’s plans for the future
e) the lifestyles of Russian aristocracy
|2. Anna’s personality is shown as lacking|
|3. Which of the following plot points is it possible to learn from the given passage?|
a) Anna has a child
b) Anna is already married to someone else
c) Vronsky is an army officer
d) Stiva is Anna’s brother
e) Kitty believes Vronsky will ask her to marry him
|4. Based on her manner of thinking about Vronsky in this scene, which word could not be used to describe Anna?|
|5. Both the jealousy in Wives and Concubines and Anna Karenina manifests itself in|
a) a need for attention
b) rage at a lover
c) social aloofness
d) disregard for personal safety
e) transference of affection to another