Chapter 325: The Redologists Strike Back?
The students were all nicely seated.
A few students, who wanted to go use the bathroom, had rushed there and back.
Teacher Yang and the few Redologists also did not want Zhang Ye to end his class so early. They still had many important things to say. Hence, they were very pleased that there was an extension. They came with the goal of debunking Zhang Ye. How could they leave just like that? Their goal had not yet been met. If they were to return with their faces ashen, where were they to put their faces when the video was posted and the public lecture was reported on? When that happened, the citizens would think that this bunch of Redologists, who had studied all these years, were inferior to a junior. This was an outcome Teacher Yang, Ma Hengyuan, and company could not accept. Hence, no matter what, they had to win this round!
How were they to win?
They just needed to come up with a question that Zhang Ye was unable to answer!
Teacher Yang already had an idea. He had an exchange with a few Redologists in whispers. A few of them smiled, but did not say a word. They were planning on using the killer move right at the end. They would throw it out at the end of the class. If they asked it now, Zhang Ye definitely could not answer it, but he might be able to use his silver tongue to change the topic and begin a new round of analysis on another problem. With Zhang Ye’s eloquence as a professional host, he had such abilities. They had already had a taste of his eloquence prior. If that was the case, everyone’s attention would be diverted and affect the results. They wanted to deal Zhang Ye a sure-kill strike. They did not want to leave Zhang Ye a chance to fight back, or change topics. In their opinion, this was also the price Zhang Ye had to pay for deriding their literary world!
A storm was brewing!
The people from the literary world began to gather their strength for the final battle!
Zhang Ye had also noticed the first row of Redologists whispering abnormally. However, he did not mind it at all. From the beginning, Zhang Ye had looked down on this world’s Redologists. After drinking a mouthful of Pu’er tea, he smiled faintly. “Alright then. Shall we carry on?”
A few thousand people maintained their silence in the venue.
In the past, even if Peking University held a convocation ceremony or conference, it was impossible for there to be complete silence when President Wu went up to speak. They did not give her that much face, but when Zhang Ye, a new, ordinary teacher came to Peking University, he managed to do it. This showed that the students genuinely liked his class.
“Just now, my student Little Song asked me to put forth a few examples as evidence. I believe a lot of people have similar thoughts. All of you want to hear it and that is naturally not a problem.” After an hour’s class, a typical teacher would also begin to suffer from fatigue, and feel their energy decline, but Zhang Ye did not suffer from this. When he saw the yearning to learn attitude from his students’ eyes, he became even more energized. “In yesterday’s class, I used historical information and documents to validate ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’. In today’s class, I did it based on the content. I talked about the divisions and the novel’s structure. The novel’s characters and their personalities prove my point. Using them to dissect the 120 chapters of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ is problematic. Then up to here, a student may ask, today you analyzed the characters from the structure, and I can believe it for the time being, but other than that, can you tell us more from the plot? In the plot after the first eighty chapters on the whole, are there things that do not match the first eighty chapters on the whole?” With a pause, he said, “Of course. They exist!”
Senior Song had already taken out a notebook and pen. She looked unblinkingly at Zhang Ye. She was prepared to record it down. She no longer held a critical attitude, but began to have a learning attitude.
The other students were similar.
For example, Yao Mi, Li Li, and Li Ying were all taking notes.
After all, it was almost exam time. It might end up that the content Teacher Zhang Ye had mentioned were examinable. This credit could not be lost.
Zhang Ye showed the information. “There are many things to talk about regarding the plot. However, I do not want to talk about those logical problems that have been studied by Redologists. I do not want to repeat things that others have already talked about. I will talk about a major plot hole that no one has mentioned before.”
The people from the literary world rolled their eyes. Plot hole that no one mentioned before? How could it be possible? Do you think those of us in literature research are fools? We have been doing this for decades. How could it be that no one raised this problem or flaw before? Aren’t you being too bold?
Yan Yu was rendered speechless by Zhang Ye’s defiant attitude. She could not help but ask, “What plot hole?”
Teacher Yang and Ma Hengyuan were also angered. From the beginning, this Zhang looked down on their literary research!
“Right, which paragraphs?”
“Say it, we are all ears!”
A woman and a youth spoke up. They were two of the few Redology researchers in the industry.
Zhang Ye said calmly. “The plot regarding the Jia family’s conviction. The continuer’s writing is comical and worthy of scorn!”
Yan Yu said, “Don’t keep talking about the continuation. What’s ridiculous about this plot?”
Teacher Yang also said, “Ignoring the problem of the characters’ personalities, what’s wrong with the plot?”
A problem with the Jia family being convicted was indeed something never mentioned before in this world’s Redology research. This was because they did not find any problems with it!
However Zhang Ye knew. Not only was there a problem in it, it was a major problem. “Everyone thinks this plot adheres to logic? What about the students?”
The Peking University students also responded.
“Uh, it’s alright?”
“I don’t see any problems.”
“This is a major plot point. There’s nothing wrong with it?”
Senior Song stood up and said, “According to your argument and structural analysis, the first 80 chapters had hinted that the Jia family would decline. It was hinted that they would be raided. Isn’t this following a rational line of thought?”
Zhang Ye lowered his hand to indicate for her to sit. He smiled and said, “It looks like no one has noticed this. Actually, what everybody thinks is a rational line of thought is just rational on the surface. Yes, I also admitted that the Jia family would decline. Mr Cao Xueqin had already foreshadowed this in the first eighty chapters on the whole. Cao Xueqin wrote that the Jia family would be raided, but the reason for being raided is definitely not the reason given after the eightieth chapter. The way the continuer wrote it is unacceptable personally. It is ridiculous!” As he pointed to the screen, he said, “Take a look everyone. In the plot after chapter 80, it writes that Rong-guo mansion, as well as Ning-guo mansion, were raided. We can explore this and see if that was the case. Those who are familiar should have an impression. After chapter 80, when the Emperor ordered the raid, how many charges did Jia She receive? Two charges. One, he had entered into a conspiracy with provincial officials for nefarious purposes. About this, I have to say that the person who continued the story had quite the standard. He was able to carry on the foreshadowing written by Cao Xueqin in the first 80 chapters. Jia She’s second charge was abusing his own personal influence to bully a defenceless citizen. This was also written according to the foreshadowing in the first 80 chapters. Although I’m not sure how Cao Xueqin would have written it, it would not have been written in this way. However, the continuer’s writing is still acceptable to me.”
“If it’s acceptable, why is there a problem?”
“Can you stop saying continuer? It sounds so awkward!”
A few Redologists suggested.
Zhang Ye shrugged his shoulders. “Alright, I know many people still do not believe that the chapters after the eightieth are not the original work of Cao Xueqin. Then let’s not talk about the continuer. Let’s assume the 120 chapters of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ were written by Cao Xueqin, but there arises a problem. Later on, the reason why Ning-guo mansion and Jia Zheng were raided was only mentioned in passing. It was roughly accounted for, so almost no one noticed it, nor has anyone researched it. This is because everyone’s focus was on more ‘important’ matters in this plot, but I want to tell everyone to not look elsewhere. Focus your attention on this. Here, I can prove that the plot was not written by Cao Xueqin!”
The students were all listening.
The people from the literary world all began to recall the content.
Zhang Ye ignored them and carried on speaking, “Cousin Zhen’s first crime: forcefully took to his bed the fiancée of an innocent person and drove her to her death when she would not gratify his desires. It sounds serious, and is actually referring to Second Sister You’s death. If you think right away, you might not find it problematic, but if you read it carefully again, who forcefully took Second Sister You? It was not Cousin Zhen, but Jia Lian. And was Second Sister You kept in Ning-guo mansion? No, it was a place called Little Flower Lane!”
Ma Hengyuan leered at him. “Don’t you know that Second Sister You was later duped into Rong-guo mansion by Wang Xifeng?”
Zhang Ye looked back at him. “You are right, but even if Cousin Zhen had some responsibility in this, he was at most regarded as an accomplice. The main perpetrator was Jia Lian. This thing was all Jia Lian’s problem, right? Later on, Wang Xifeng even directed a scheme to let Second Sister You’s former fiancé indict on this matter. It caused quite a stir, resulting in Second Sister You’s death. However, that is Wang Xifeng and Jia Lian’s crime. What has this got to do with Cousin Zhen? However, ‘Cao Xueqin’, for some unknown reason, wrote that the first crime of Cousin Zhen was Second Sister You’s death!”
Many people exclaimed.
Teacher Yang also loosened his eyebrows.
This problem had really not been mentioned in the Redology world. Zhang Ye was really the first!
Zhang Ye ignored their reactions and carried on speaking, “Then the second charge is even more ridiculous. What is it? Buried secretly and the facts of her death were concealed from the authorities. This is talking about Third Sister You’s death. Following her suicide meant she committed suicide and that was finally buried.” Zhang Ye could not help but laugh. “What sort of serious crime is this? Furthermore, Third Sister You committing suicide does not have much to do with Cousin Zhen. It was Jia Lian who paired Liu Xianglian and Third Sister You. The matching failed, causing Third Sister You to commit suicide. What did Cousin Zhen have to do with this?” Saying that, Zhang Ye pointed to the screen. “As for the third charge, it says for corrupting the sons of noble families, encouraging them to gamble. When I see this, I do not know what others may think, but I can’t bear reading it further.”
Meng Dongguo said coldly, “It was foreshadowed early on.”
Another youth who studied Redology said, “Right, and it was in your so-called first 80 chapters.”
“There was such a plot in front.” Zhang Ye said, “In chapter 75, Cousin Zhen gathered a bunch of family members to gamble, but think about it, were they really gambling? Cousin Zhen had set up a shooting gallery below Celestial Fragrance Pavilion, allowing young men to compete there. Gambling was just a guise. If one had to insist, Cousin Zhen’s crime is the shooting gallery. This is because it is a very dangerous behavior and signal, but for some reason, ‘Cao Xueqin’ decided that the third charge would be Cousin Zhen’s gambling. Who can explain this to me?”
“Was there such a passage?”
“Yes, they were indeed practicing shooting.”
“I also recall it. This was written in an abstruse manner.”
Without Zhang Ye mentioning, many people had not recalled it. They had never thought about it. Now, with him mentioning it, many of those who had read “Dream of the Red Chamber” recalled it!
It’s really true!
There was a serious problem!
Zhang Ye questioned, “If this was really Cao Xueqin’s original text, would Mr Cao make such a low-level error?”
A Redologist in his thirties grunted. “This isn’t a crime, that isn’t a crime. This has nothing to do with him, then from what you say, the Jia family is innocent. Why would their family be raided?”
Zhang Ye said, “The Jia family was naturally guilty.”
Meng Dongguo said, “Jia She and Cousin Zhen were originally…”
Before he finished speaking, Zhang Ye had interrupted him. “No, actually Jia She and Cousin Zhen’s crime existed, but that was not the true reason behind why the Jia family was raided! My point has always been based on the first 80 chapters. In the first 80 chapters, this matter was clearly indicated!”
Ma Hengyuan said to Zhang Ye as if he was not worth a single glance, “Then whose crime is it?”
Zhang Ye calmly gave a name. It was a name that shocked everyone. “The real reason behind the Jia family being raided was Jia Zheng!”
“Did you say the wrong name?”
“It can’t be Jia Zheng!”
“That’s right! Anyone can be guilty except Jia Zheng!”
The Peking University students were the first to create an uproar. It was too surprising for Zhang Ye to give this name. They could accept whatever Teacher Zhang Ye had previously said as they found it very reasonable, but regarding Jia Zheng’s crime? None of them believed! How can that be?
However, Zhang Ye ignored their discussion and said the next sentence. “Hur Hur. I can tell everyone that not only is Jia Zheng guilty, but it’s a heinous crime!”
“Can it be that exaggerated?”
“He’s the only good person in the Jia family!”
“That’s right, where did it say Jia Zheng was guilty?”
The Redologists like Yan Yu and Teacher Yang all gave a look of shock!
Elder Qian and Professor Zeng, who were originally very supportive of Zhang Ye, looked at each other. They could see the doubt in each other’s eyes. They did not know either!
Zhang Ye was indifferent. He said, “Everyone might not believe it, but I will still say it. If this was Cao Xueqin’s original work… if this was Cao Xueqin’s original 108 chapters of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’, he would have written that the real reason why the Jia family was raided was because of Jia Zheng’s crime. Yes, to many people here, Jia Zheng was a very decent man. And when the Jia family was raided, Jia Zheng seemed the most innocent. The way you came to this conclusion was the same as what the continuer of the chapters after the eightieth thought too. Hence, using this line of thought, he wrote it into the image that everyone sees today. Even when the Jia family was raided, it did not raise any problems with Jia Zheng. There was no crime, and through his hard work, the Emperor even forgave him, allowing the resurgence of the Jia family. Hur Hur. On these matters, you already have preconceptions about this, hence, you are subconsciously disagreeing with what I’m saying. However, I still have to say it. This is a major error the continuer made. He did not understand the foreshadowing and line of thought Cao Xueqin had in the first 80 chapters. This is also the reason why everyone has been misled!”
Senior Zhou could not stand for this anymore. He liked Jia Zheng the most in ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’. “Teacher Zhang, where is the foreshadowing you mentioned?”
Senior Song asked, “Was it written earlier that Jia Zheng had committed a crime?”
Many students and people from the literary world could not accept it. In many people’s hearts, Jia Zheng was a person of utmost bearing. They liked him a lot too. Was Zhang Ye trying to subvert their understanding again? Wasn’t this subversion too much?
Zhang Ye smiled as he looked at everyone. “It’s good that there is controversy. Everyone, listen to me first. See if what I say makes sense. Then, let us temporarily throw away the image of Jia Zheng in the chapters after the eightieth. Let’s look at the first 80 chapters written by Cao Xueqin and how he described Jia Zheng’s image. Where was the foreshadowing? In chapter 75, You-shi was angry and went to visit Lady Wang. At this moment, an old woman accompanying her told her something shocking. ‘Some people from the Zhen family have just arrived there, madam, with a lot of things. I think it’s something secret they’ve come about. It probably wouldn’t be convenient for you to go there now.”
On the screen.
The original text appeared.
Everyone looked at it, and indeed, there was such a passage.
“Who is the Zhen family? It’s a close family to the Jia family. What was the situation back then? The Zhen family was convicted and raided by the Emperor.” Zhang Ye smiled and said, “Then in the book, was You-shi very surprised when she heard this? No, she was not one bit surprised. You-shi said, ‘Yes, I heard your master saying last night’, and this master is Jia Zheng, ‘that he had read in the Gazette that the Zhens had been attainted, and the family was being brought to the capital for questioning!’”
Everyone present looked surprised.
One wouldn’t know without thinking, but the moment they thought about it, they were shocked!
Zhang Ye asked, “Jia Zheng helped the Zhen family hide their treasures. I want to ask you, is this a severe crime?”
Senior Zhou ruminated for a while before saying in a convinced manner, “…Yes!”
The people from the literary world remained silent for a long period. They had an impression of this plot, but that was all they had. As the book did not write it in detail, and was just described with a few words, it was too superficial, and as a result, many people had neglected it. Even if they didn’t neglect it, this plot just meant that Jia Zheng was a person who valued sentiment. They did not link it with how it would add on to the crimes the Jia family was convicted of later after the eightieth chapter. Only when Zhang Ye pointed it out did these people think about it. Yes, it was truly the case!
Was the crime severe?
It was too severe!
In the society of that era, that was a serious crime!
Zhang Ye looked at the crowd, “This was written in the first eighty chapters by Cao Xueqin. They were the original words, so I would like to ask, later when the Jia family was raided, what was the reason behind it?”
Many people turned quiet. They were rendered speechless by Zhang Ye’s question!
The Redologists realized that things were not going well. Zhang Ye’s momentum was rising. His point and theory was becoming more and more valid. If they allowed him to carry on, even they would be convinced. Hence, Teacher Yang picked up a microphone and switched it on. He had to speak!
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