In the classic Chinese novel The Red Chamber Dream, Jia Zheng is the father of the main character, Jia Bao-yu. Jia Zheng's strict Confucian character and his disapproval of his delicate, poetic son are one of the many issues that causes Bao-yu to dislike social interaction with male figures.

Although Jia Zheng could be written down as a "villain" in the book, due to his often harsh treatment of his son (in one scene, he almost beats him to death in a fit of rage), he is portrayed rather sympathetically. One of the main reasons he is so disapproving of his son's flighty tendency is that of all the men in the family, Jia Zheng is the only one who is not a lecherous, drunken gambler. He is just wary that Bao-yu will grow up to be a corrupt man, like the others in his family, rather then a honest, hardworking government official like his father. Of course, in the end, Bao-yu becomes neither.

Other then working hard for the Imperial Court and occasionally trying to talk some sense into his son, Jia Zheng spends his leisure time playing Go with his friends, various 'literary gentlemen'.

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