Chapter 335: This Semester’s Last Class!
In a few days time, Zhang Ye held his lessons as usual. The students got more and more addicted listening to him. Zhang Ye also became more and more excited about lecturing. Every time, only after someone reminded him that he had exceeded the class’ given time would he stop the class.
These few days, with strong urging from the students, Peking University had approved another of Zhang Ye’s lectures to be held as a public lecture. What was different this time was that it would be held at night instead to avoid affecting other classes. The grand auditorium could not always be reserved for Zhang Ye, there were still other teachers who used it as well as activities held in it. Zhang Ye couldn’t get reservation slots, so he just held the lectures at the 1200 seater auditorium. The night time public lectures were always full, even if you were early to class, you might not be able to get a seat, let alone if you were late for class.
You might have heard of queuing up to buy groceries.
You might have heard of queuing up to buy property.
But you definitely have never heard of queuing up to attend classes!
When other institutes of higher learning heard this, they were speechless. If anyone told them that this situation would happen for an elective class, the people from Peking University would never believe it, ever, but all of this was now happening right before their eyes! Zhang Ye had done it, no one could be unconvinced by it!
Today was Zhang Ye’s last lesson.
In the auditorium, there were especially many people. A lot of the students were packed into the auditorium as even some seats were shared by two people.
Of course, what was more worthy to note was the seats at the side of the auditorium. There were many unfamiliar older faces. There were men and women, of at least 30 years old. Before the class started, Zhang Ye had heard Chang Kaige mention that some of these people were Redologists or from the community. Some of them were also from other institutes of higher learning or the education system. They had all applied to attend this last lecture beforehand. Some of them might have been hoping to find mistakes to pick on, while others were here with the hope of learning more.
Zhang Ye spoke seriously, “The title of the 108th chapter might have been called ‘The Divine Luminescent understands the meaning of letting go at a precipice, the stone returns, with a listing revealed’. Why do I say so? Because when the beggar couple encounters the large snowstorm at the end, there was no way for them to survive in the open. They might have gone into the wilderness and discovered a farmhouse. They wished the farmhouse would open the door to provide them with some warmth, and they eventually discovered that the master and mistress of the farmhouse were very kind to them…”
The lectures of these past few days had already left everyone unable to speak.
Senior Song, Senior Zhou, and some others who were usually very active no longer questioned anything.
Outsiders who came to listen into the class did not manage to interject a single word. Even those who came to cause trouble could not keep up with Zhang Ye’s pace. They were completely brought into a new realm of knowledge that they did not understand — Vestige Forensics. All they could do was listen to it in a daze!
Beforehand, no one had expected Zhang Ye’s research to be so detailed.
From the 81st to the 108th chapter, Zhang Ye had logically guessed the chapter titles of each of them. He presented to them what he thought would have been the original plot of the story in such detail that he even included all the plot foreshadowing from the first 80 chapters!
It was too amazing!
It was really too awesome!
Just what sort of knowledge capacity did he have?
Throughout the course of this lecture, it had left many people believing more and more that someone else had continued the writing after the first 80 chapters. They felt that Zhang Ye’s analysis of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ was the original plot development of the novel instead! According to the plot described by Zhang Ye, it was a more logical and suitable ending! Many of the logical errors that had left the Redology world frustrated were solved perfectly by the way Zhang Ye spoke about it!
A Redologist even lowered his head to take notes. He listened with an open mind and did not dare to put on airs in front of Zhang Ye.
Zhang Ye carried on speaking. “This character was also foreshadowed. He is one of the characters that would participate in the finale. They should be received by the Second Maid’s parents. It was too late to save Shi Xiangyun. She was already frozen to death at the Second Maid’s house. As it was Winter, even the ground was frozen, so they buried her with great efforts. That night, the farming couple let Baoyu enjoy a good rest, but Baoyu was filled with thoughts. Finally, he heard a summoning from the sky. It was a monk and a priest. The immortals from the heavenly realm summoned him. He realized he was just a Divine Luminescent Page-in-waiting that descended to the mortal world for a trip. He was to return to the heavenly realm. When he returned to the heavenly realm, he received his final enlightenment. He understood that heading to heaven by becoming a monk was all superficial. The real point was to let go at a precipice and understand that all splendor and riches were ephemeral. And just knowing this bit was not enough, because the ancients had already figured this out a long time ago. In the midst of that fleeting cloud, a soul not corrupted by society’s bad politics, economics, or culture… this was compassion for the weak. It was a relentless pursuit for beauty, and was the most valuable thing.”
Divine Luminescent Page-in-waiting?
The crowd was surprised!
Zhang Ye said, “He was a Divine Luminescent Page-in-waiting who returned to the heavenly realm. The enlightened Baoyu was the stone lying at the foot of Greensickness Peak. With the stone returning to the heavenly realm, it was filled with words. These words would be the 108 chapters of “The Story of the Stone”, which is also known as ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’. After the 108 chapters, there would be a “Love Ranking”, which was a meaningful list for Baoyu, called the King of the Flowers. Then it would be a list of the 108 girls listed in groups. Each group had 12 people, creating a total of nine groups.
At this point, Zhang Ye gave a light smile. “This, is my personal dissection of the content in the last 40 chapters of Cao Xueqin’s 108 chapters of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’. I think this is the true storyline of Cao Xueqin’s ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’!” Finishing the lecture with his usual high standards, Zhang Ye closed his lecture documents and exhaled. He smiled and said, “Alright, this semester’s classes will end here!”
“I haven’t heard enough!”
“That’s right, it’s so exciting!”
“Teacher Zhang, you sure are well-learned!”
“Are you going to hold classes as usual next semester? Teacher, you won’t be leaving, right? I’m waiting to register for ‘Appreciation of the Classics’ next semester!”
Most elective classes were only held for one semester a year.
Zhang Ye was very pleased upon hearing that. He said, “Thanks to the trust of the school’s leaders, I will carry on serving as lecturer of this elective class next semester. This class will be held as usual.”
Senior Zhou exclaimed, “You should continue writing ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’!”
Senior Song also immediately said, “Teacher Zhang, have you considered continuing ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’? The plot you described is really much better than the last 40 chapters of the circulated 120 chapters!”
Yao Mi giggled and said, “That’s right Teacher Zhang. Write it, we all support you!”
Zhang Ye knew what he was worth. He quickly shook his hands and said, “I won’t be able to write it. I don’t dare to blaspheme the classics, and indeed lack the ability. This is the truth. Hur Hur. I can only analyze and theorize. If you really wanted me to write, that would be a joke. I won’t be able to do a better job than the continuer who did the last 40 chapters. The text in it isn’t something anyone can emulate. This is also why I’m very amazed at Gao E or the anonymous person. Maybe he did not write in accordance with Cao Xueqin’s original intentions, and there were problems with the plot and character. No one can deny his amazing accomplishments in the field of literature and his writing. He also made great contributions by spreading ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’.”
Everyone was still engaging in discussions.
Zhang Ye lowered his hand, gesturing for them to quieten down. “With the course over, then I will need to talk about the elective class’ exam. There are many characters in ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’. Some characters are more familiar to others, and there are others who no one pays attention to. However, each character is important. So for the assessment, other than everyone’s attendance, everyone is to write an analysis of a ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ character. Just one will do. Note, do not just copy from the internet, but one which you analyze and understand yourself. It is assigned today, but as the class’ schedule is tight, and it’s almost the holidays, the deadline is tomorrow at noon by the latest.”
“We are given half a day?”
“The time is too tight for us to finish it.”
The students from Zhang Ye’s elective class complained.
Zhang Ye smiled and said, “Actually, the time isn’t tight. Students who diligently listened to all my classes will not find this difficult. I have basically expounded all the characters in the story. If everyone doesn’t like that, we can have an oral exam tomorrow?”
“No, no, no!”
“Not an oral exam!”
“Man, I’ll do the assignment!”
The students could only helplessly accept it. There was no other way. Oral exams were not easy. There was no way to copy or prepare either. They had to express themselves on the spot. The uncertainty was too great and the most crucially, who would dare have an oral exchange with Teacher Zhang Ye?! Who had not witnessed the eloquence of their new teacher? Even if Zhang Ye showed them mercy by not asking things that were too difficult, they would not be able to do well. Didn’t you see the leading experts and teachers from the literary world dumbfounded by Teacher Zhang Ye!? Having an oral exam with Teacher Zhang Ye was plainly seeking death!
Chang Kaige, who was sitting below, chuckled.
Professor Zeng and Su Na were also smiling.
Zhang Ye gave a terse acknowledgment. He was now the teacher, so he was free to set the exam content by the Chinese department. This was quite a nice feeling. “Then it’s decided. Everyone, go back and do the examination assignment. Tomorrow, hand it to class monitor, Little Song. I will grade each and everyone of them. The credit grades will be released together with the other classes. Alright, class dismissed. It’s been hard work for all of you this semester. I’m very honored to have been your lecturer, teaching you new knowledge. I’m limited in my knowledge and have quite a bad reputation. I would like to thank President Wu and the Chinese department’s leaders for their trust…”
Zhang Ye was very happy in these days in Peking University. He enjoyed spending his days with the students in some inexplicable way and liked them a lot. Hence, Zhang Ye was also very touched during this last class of the semester. He could not help but say a few more words. He looked towards the students and said, “Thank you for supporting and affirming a new teacher like me. I have nothing to return to you, but if you do not mind, I will teach everything I know to everyone in the future!”
A round of applause echoed!
The students all stood up!
Translators’ Notes: Just click it. ‘Nuff said.