Archive for September, 2007

Can you really die from swallowing gold?

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007 by Lara

In Dream of the Red Chamber, Phoenix makes her husband’s concubine’s life so miserable that the poor girl decides to kill herself, by swallowing a piece of gold. She’s found the next morning, lying peacefully deceased in her bed, and everyone knows exactly how she killed herself. So how much gold would an average person need to swallow to die? And what are the symptoms? Does it have to be coated in arsenic to be effective? Or is this just a mildly poetic method of suicide, preferable in the literary context to jumping off bridges or using a knife?