Monkey History By: Hannah, Daniel, Katie, Matt & Ricardo • • • • Title: Monkey Author: Wu Ch’eng-en Date of Publication: 1500-1582 Genre: folk novel Historical information about period of publication: Monkey was based on the real life of a monk named Hsuan Tsang who lived in the late Sui Dynasty and early Tang Dynasty in Chang’an. Tsang left Chang’an in 629 and traveled to India to get scriptures because the Chinese versions were poorly translated. He was able to obtain the scriptures and transport them to China were he established an institute dedicated to translating the scriptures to Chinese. In the 16th century the book Monkey was published anonymously probably because it was written the vulgar language instead of Classical Chinese. The popular type of Writing during this time was Classical Chinese and not the language of the common people. Wu Ch’eng- en probably published Monkey anonymously so that it wouldn’t ruin his reputation. Biographical information about the author: Wu Ch’eng-en was a novelist and poet of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). He is generally acknowledged for the Chinese folk novel Xiyouji (Journey to the West, or Monkey). Wu received a traditional Confucian education and became known for his cleverness in the composition of poetry and prose in the classical style. Throughout his life he displayed an interest in bizarre stories, such as the oral and written folktales that formed the basis of Monkey. Characteristics of the genre: Folk novels usually include a journey that leads the main character to “self-discovery.” Conflicts are usually quickly established and the endings usually end happily. The setting of folk novels remove the story from the real world and take the readers to supernatural times were animals can talk and magical creatures exist. The setting of folk novels may also reflect the typical landscape of its culture. Plot summary: The story begins with the story of Monkey. He was born from rock on the Flower and Fruit Mountain and lived with the monkeys living there. One day while he was following a stream, monkey discovered a waterfall. All the monkeys agreed that the monkey that was brave enough to jump through the waterfall should be the king. The stone monkey went through the water fall and discovered the “Water Curtain Cave” behind the waterfall. The monkeys made him their king and lived happily in the cave, until the Monkey King left on a raft to search for immortality. He floated across the sea until he came to the Southern Continent. After eight or nine years he crossed another ocean arriving at the western Continent where he finally found a patriarch that taught him the way to immortality and 72 transformations. He acquired the name ‘Aware of Vacuity” from the Patriarch. Unfortunately he was forced to leave the school when he showed of his transformations by becoming a pine tree. Since Monkey had no where else to go, he returned to the Flower and Fruit mountain just to find his monkeys under the control of a demon. He easily defeated the demon using his newly acquired skills, but after the battle, he discovered that he was in need of a decent weapon. He decided to visit the dragon king and was able to obtain an iron cudgel by force. He then armed his monkeys with weapons and trained them They were respected by all the beasts living on the mountain, and everything seemed to be fine until Monkey managed to cause trouble in hell by crossing his name and the names of the monkeys in the records. Because of how he was treated by Monkey, the Dragon King went to Heaven and complained against him, so the Jade emperor offered him a position in heaven so that he would stay out of trouble. Hi job was cleaning out the stables, but once he found out how low he was ranked he rebelled and left his post. The Jade Emperor ordered troops to capture him, but they didn’t compare with monkey’s powers. The Jade Emperor had no other choice than to allow him the title of Great Sage Equal to Heaven. Monkey was put in charge of the Peach Orchid, but he ate all the ripe peaches of immortality. He also ruined the Peach Banquet by arriving before everyone, drinking the wine and eating the food. After that he visited Lao Tzu’s home and drank his elixir and took the Pills of Immortality. Knowing that he would be in big trouble monkey hurried home to the Fruit and Flower Mountain. When the Jade Emperor found out about what Monkey had done he ordered more powerful troops to capture Monkey. He was finally captured and taken to heaven. Because no weapon could hurt monkey, he was given to Loa Tzu who put him in a furnace for 49 days. Surprisingly enough, Monkey survived and was even stronger than before. In the end only Buddha was able to control him underneath his palm. Monkey was crushed under a mountain and trapped for 500 years. Next we are introduced to Kuan Yin. She was sent by Buddha to find a priest to fetch scriptures from India. On her journey she encountered a water monster, Sandy, who was a marshal of the hosts of Heaven until hi accidentally broke a crystal dish and was banished to Earth. Kuan Yin told him that he would be forgiven if helped the scripture seeker and if he purified himself by never taking a life again. Next Kuan Yin encountered Pigsy, a dragon, and Monkey. Pigsy was also a Marshal of the hosts of Heaven, but he misbehaved with the Goddess of the Moon. So the Jade Emperor banished him to Earth. Kuan Yin told him to do fast, penance, to watch for the scripture seeker, and to help him on his journey to India. The dragon was the son of the Dragon King of the western ocean. He accidentally set the palace on fire and some of the Dragon Kings pearls burned. For that action he was to be executed, but Kuan Yin told him that he would be forgiven if he watched for the scripture seeker and helped him on his journey. Monkey as we already knew had caused much trouble and was trapped under a Mountain. Kuan Yin told him that he would be set free by a scripture seeker, but he had to become his disciple and embrace their faith. They all agreed to help the seeker of scriptures and waited for him. The Priest worthy enough to retrieve the scriptures from India turned out to be Hsuan Tsang or Tripitaka. On his journey he faced many obstacles and was nearly eaten by ogres, but as he met his disciples, they helped him along the way. Tripitaka was chosen because he was the best of all priests, but in times of danger he cried and didn’t show faith in his religion even after being told that many deities were looking after him. Monkey was the strongest and wittiest of the group, but because he had a rebellious nature Tripitaka kept him under control through a cap that squeezed Monkey’s head when Tripitaka recited a prayer. Pigsy was also strong but lazy, greedy, and lustful. Sandy was hardworking and the most patient of all. The dragon was turned into a horse after he ate Tripitaka’s horse. Even though he was turned into a horse, the dragon did not complain and served Tripitaka until the end. After obtaining the scriptures and after taking them to China, Tripitaka, Monkey, Pigsy, Sandy, and the dragon horse Went back to Paradise where the Buddha Tathagata lived. There Tripitaka was appointed to be a Buddha and achieved the title “Buddha of Precocious Merit.” Monkey was also promoted to be a Buddha and obtained the title “Buddha Victorious in Strife.” Pigsy was promoted to be Cleanser of the Altar. Sandy became an Arhat and obtained the title “Golden Bodied Arhat”, and the horse became one of the eigth senior Heavenly Dragons. Describe the author’s style The author used simple, common language that is easy to understand. He included many action scenes and mystical creatures. The story establishes a pattern in which Tripitaka and his disciples fight off an evil character before moving on. At the end of each chapter the author includes a sentence telling the reader that if he or she wants to know what happens next they should read the next chapter. The author also used some phrases over and over. Examples that demonstrate style: Monkey being an animal can talk. Pigs, sandy, and the dragons are mythical creatures. And if you do not know how the Emperor came to life again, you must listen to the next chapter. “Dear Monkey” “Poor Fool” Memorable quotations: Tripitaka: A priest is always ready to die rather then commit acts of violence. Monkey: fool you are not doing yourself justice Pigsy: I don’t know what it is, I’ve been a little bit off my feed lately Monkey: Master…each time we come to a hill before we have even begun to climb it, you are in a panic about ogres and demons. And you are always brooding about what a long way it is to India, and wondering if we shall ever get there… Significance of quotations: Tripitaka: One has no right to kill robbers, however violent, and wicked they may be the most one may do is to bring them before a magistrate. It would have been quite enough in this case if you had driven them away. Why kill them? Tripitaka: Now Monkey, priests must always be careful to tell the truth Tripitaka:I used to wear them(cap&coat) when I was young Monkey: you have no reason to get into such a state about it. These scriptures are now just as intact as they were intended to be. Heaven and Earth themselves are not more complete. The part that was broken off contained a secret refinement of doctrine that was not meant for transmission, and no care on your part could….. Characters Name Tripitaka Role in story Priest on journey to fetch scriptures from India Monkey Disciple of Tripitaka that defends him along the way Pigsy Disciple of Tripitaka Sandy Disciple of Tripitaka Lao Tzu Significance He was chosen because of his pureness and faith, but throughout the journey he showed that he actually had room to grow as a person. Monkey symbolizes intelligence and power, but is missing wisdom and maturity. He is kept under control by Buddha and then by Tripitaka(cap &spell) He eats and marries after he is told to fast and do penance Formal marshal of heaven Adjectives Fearful, easily deceived Intelligent, courageous, strong, show off, rebellious Greedy for Physical pleasures like sleep and food He retains some of his magical powers from when he worked in heaven. Sandy is Patient and is able to breathe underwater Founder of Taoism He achieved physical immortality, and the “Pills of immortality” and elixir of life were made by Lao Tzu Smart, wise, respected Kuan Yin Bodhisattva who helps Tripitaka along his journey She helps Tripitaka in times of need, but it also seems that she is the one that sends him difficulties or calamities to make him mature Beautiful, helpful/unhelpful Jade emperor Ruler of Heaven and Earth Although he is the ruler, he is not the supreme God. He is outranked by Buddha, Lao Tzu, and Confucius. Powerful, leader Buddha Founder of Buddhism He is the only person that can control the rebellious Monkey in the beginning. Wise, supreme power, respected Setting: The setting is mostly rural places in china like farms, forests, and famous mountains. Significance of opening scene The opening scene reveals to the reader the magical manner in which Monkey was born. Here we see that he is more than ordinary since he was a creation of both Earth and Heaven. The fact that light from his eyes shines all the way to Heaven further emphasizes his uniqueness. Symbols Each of the main characters could be a symbol for types of human nature. Arthur Waley even states at the beginning of the book that Tripitaka stands for ordinary men, living anxiously through the difficulties of life, monkey stands for the instability of genius, Pigsy stands for the physical appetites and strength, and Sandy is described as wholehearted or sincere. The horse or dragon could represent the loyal worker who does not complain. Also Heaven closely models the Chinese government. The five mountains and the cap show Monkey’s inferiority to Buddha Significance of closing scene In the closing scene all of our main characters are rewarded for their hard work and are promoted to higher ranks. In this scene we are able to see how some of the characters have evolved and matured while others still have room for improvements.