great works ii – 2850 jta 12:25-2:05: love letters from the world

Francesca Furca Response to Heroic Journey Model

February 17, 2017 Written by | 2 Comments

The Journey to the West has become Triptaka’s goal to reach. He has been given a job to travel to India to retrieve a set of Buddhist scriptures. These scriptures will serve a very big purpose back in China because it will help spread Buddhism in his native land. This journey could also be looked as Tripitaka’s road to enlightenment. Tripitaka has shown different points throughout his journey from the Heroic Journey Model, which are his helpers. These helpers are meant to assist Tripitaka. Tripitaka meets along his journey a Monkey King, Pigsy and a dragon. These creatures are immortals that have supernatural powers that will come to use once a demon tries to stop them throughout the journey. These helpers may seem to be a great help, but Tripitaka doesn’t seem to really want to have them along with him because they do have many flaws. I believe if it were up to him, he would just try and go on his own. He shows this act once he meets Monkey. Monkey had committed an act and Triptaka did not agree and he says, “that you had to do penance for five hundred years. If no that you have repented and become a priest you go on behaving as in old days, you can’t come with me to India. You’ve made a very bad start.” These creatures are also here to try and teach Tripitaka in a way. I believe Monkey being a creature with a lot of action, shows Tripitaka to not quit his goal. For example, when they come across the Monster that was found at the River of Flowing Sands. He seemed that Pigsy was having difficulties trying to kill this monster and there was no other way to get across. Monkey then says, “It is true that with that creature lying in wait for us, we can’t get across. But Pigsy, you stay here by the Master and don’t attempt to do any more fighting. I am going off to the Southern Ocean.” Monkey goes off to find Bodhisattva, and he is positive she could help.

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2 responses so far ↓

  •   j.devine // Feb 17th 2017 at 10:03 am

    Like Francesca discussed, the story of The Journey to the West focuses on both Tripitaka’s and Monkey’s call to adventure. However, these two characters have different paths to enlightenment. An example where Monkey fits into the Heroic Journey would be the facing of new challenges. Throughout the story, Monkey is fighting with not only others, but his own self direction of what is right and wrong. For instance, when Monkey finds out Tripitaka is putting a spell on him to obey, he reacts with his natural instincts of violence. But the spell causes Monkey to stop, and forces him to reconsider. Wu Cheng ‘En writes, “’Is it possible,’ said Tripitaka, ‘that you were going to be so wicked as to strike me?’ ‘I shouldn’t dare, I shouldn’t dare,’ groaned Monkey.” At one point, Monkey must face a Monster that ate Tripitaka’s horse. Monkey’s courage as he faces this monster can be seen in the text, “Dear Monkey! He tightened the belt of his brocade jacket, hitched up his tiger- skin, grasped his iron cudgel, and going straight down to the water’s edge…” Facing new challenges not only includes internal trials for Monkey, it also facing many dangerous creatures along the way.

  •   a.wang10 // Feb 17th 2017 at 10:04 am

    Francesca, I do see your perspective that Tripitaka could fit into the Heroic Journey Model, I do think that during this journey many of the characters will learn some sort of lesson. As we continued reading to the Journey to the West, I feel like Monkey fits into the Heroic Journey Model. Monkey is a determined character in the story, his curious mind has him continuing his search for enlightenment. The Heroic Journey Model is based on him reaching to a “bliss” life. He wasn’t satisfied being in the waterfall which led him to go on this journey. When Monkey did wrong although Tripitaka put a spell on him, he still said “I will protect you faithfully to the end”, showed that Monkey is learning and even though he did wrong he still want to be able to continue the journey.
    Also, when they reach to Mr. Kao’s farm, Monkey said “I don’t need followers”, “All I ask for is some decent elderly person to sit with my master and keep him company”, came to show that Monkey is caring towards Tripitaka. Even though the journeys gets a little tough, Monkey keeps on learning until he reaches to “bliss”.

    – Annie Wang

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