Monkey’s character fits into the Heroic Journey Model of Joseph Campbell. In chapter one, he experiences the first four stages of first being in a safe world where something isn’t working, and finishing the chapter when he enters a new world by being given a new name. Throughout the following chapters, Monkey has entered into a special world; a journey to attain scriptures with Tripitaka. WIthin this world, he is experiencing trials and new challenges. These trials are a part of the sixth stage of the heroic journey model.
Monkey is faced with a trail when robbers attack him and Tripitaka. Monkey wants to protect Tripitaka but resorts to violence: “One has no right to kill robbers, however violent or wicked they may be” (Wu Ch’eng-En, 21). Monkey resorted to his ways from when before he was a priest. His trial is to grow from his violent ways from the past.
Throughout their journey to India, Monkey comes across creatures that stand in their way and challenge their route. Time and time again, Monkey attempts to fight these creatures with force, but then is reminded that these obstacles were actually put in place to help their journey:
Monkey is fonder of showing off his own powers than mentioning his connection with other people…But in future if anyone questions him, he must be sure to say that he is seeking scriptures. Then there will be no trouble (Wu Ch’eng-En ,9)
The obstacles that Monkey experiences are symbolic of the sixth stage of the heroic journey model: Challenges in life are actually lessons that can be overcome and be turned into one’s strength as long as one can remember their original purpose in life. Monkey having to remember that his purpose is to attain scriptures and that his duty is to communicate this to anyone they encounter is a direct parallel with this life lesson.
Monkey indeed faces many new challenges throughout the journey that test him to see whether he is still on the right path. As Susanna said, Monkey attempts to face these challenges with force sometimes but is reminded that he must not be swayed as these obstacles were put in place to help him grow throughout the journey.
Like Monkey, I also believe that Tripitaka’s character fits into the Heroic Journey Model. As the story progresses, we see that Tripitaka’s “pack” grows and grows with the help of Bodhisattva Kuan-yin. Tripitaka receives a lot of help on his journey which relates to the seventh stage of the model. Every hero needs help, heroes cannot do things alone and great heroes are only as great as the support they get. From the very beginning we see that Tripitaka receives tremendous help from Bodhisattva Kuan-yin, who aids and finds Tripitaka his disciples. “Pigsy…and Monkey…are both Tripitaka’s disciples and both were converted by the Bodhisattva.” (41) Although many forget about the horse, the Third Son of the Dragon King is also a disciple of Tripitaka and was converted by Bodhisattva Kuan-yin. Lastly we see that the “pack” grows by one more with the addition of Sandy, who is asked to put himself at Tripitaka’s disposal and become his disciple by the Bodhisattva Kuan-yin. Together these “three disciples, each of whom is adept in quelling dragons and subduing tigers, removing monsters and making away with bogeys,” (42) help Tripitaka on his scripture seeking journey.
As my partners stated, both Monkey and Tripitaka fit into the Heroic Journey Model of Joseph Campbell with their appropriate quotes. I want to more focus on Monkey. The Monkey king and all other monkeys are satisfied with their current life. They do not need to care about the other animals and people. All the monkeys can do whatever they want without thinking about others in the inside land of the waterfall. In chapter 1, the Monkey king suddenly reaches to the first step of HJ Model. “Yama, King of Death, is secretly waiting to destroy me. Is there no way by which, instead of being born again on earth, I might live forever among the people of the sky?”(Wu Ch’eng-En). He starts to fear his death and tries to change his current life by looking for the Immortals to learn how to live young forever. These are steps 2 and 3. After 500 years’ penance for making troubles in the Halls of Heaven, Monkey meet Tripitaka and lays down his everything and leave for India with Tripitaka. These are Threshold and Special World. During the journey to India, Monkey and Tripitaka faces some monsters and meet some helpers such as Pigsy and Sandy. In the last chapter, finally Monkey knows that every moments of the journey are under Buddha. “It acted under orders from Buddha himself” (Wu Ch’eng-En). At the very last moment, he comes to know that all the experiences throughout the journey are Buddha’s plan to train him and he realizes the way he pursue his ultimate life with training himself.