The characters Monkey and Tripitaka both fit into the ‘helpers’ category of the heroic
journey model. Both characters are receiving help from each other in different ways.
In the beginning of chapter 2, monkey is trapped in a stoned box and needed the help of
Tripitaka to get free. “You only have to want me to be out and I shall be out” quoted
Monkey. Tripitaka was the only one capable of setting monkey free. In return for setting
Monkey free, Monkey was to help Tripitaka in his journey to collect scriptures from
India. “Get me out of here and I will help in your journey to the west” quoted Monkey.
After Monkey was set free he assisted Tapitaka on his journey to collect scriptures.
Monkey truly saved Tripitaka from danger when robbers attempted to rob Tripitaka and
Monkey. Monkey used his powers to kill the armed robbers using only a pin.
It can be said that Tripitaka, the priest whom is sent to India to fetch scriptures, could fit into the ‘Threshold: Point of letting go’ stage of the heroic model. This stage can be considered a point where the hero is reaching a moment of giving up in their journey. They have endured as much as they can and are at the brink of defeat. Tripitaka fits into this stage because many times during his quest he is faced with an obstacle he seems to think is unpassable and loses his will to continue. “They climbed the bank, and finding Tripitaka they told him of their predicament. Tripitaka burst into tears. “We shall never get across,” he sobbed.”(40). In this point of his quest he is faced with the task of crossing a seemingly uncrossable river, and after Monkey and Pigsy fail to ‘convince’ the monster to help them after trying only once, he loses all hope. This scene was not the only time Tripitaka seemed to have lost all hope, earlier on in the chapter a similar event occurred. “”Well suppose it has been eaten,” said Tripitaka, “how am I to travel? It’s a great deal too far to walk.” And as he spoke his tears began to fall like rain. “Don’t make such an object of yourself,” shouted Monkey, infuriated by his exhibition of despair.”(24). Just as it was in the other scenario Tripitaka lost all hope and quite literally burst into tears, in other words he was at the point of letting go.
Within the story Journey to the West Pigsy could be said to have been at the first stage of the heroic journey model, the ‘Ordinary World’ stage. In this stage the hero, in this case Pigsy, is living a content life which is relatively safe however something seems to not be working. According to old Mr. Kao, he claimed that “To have a monster as a son-in-law in the house doesn’t work very well. It’s definitely discreditable to the house,”(Pg29). It seems that some type of “ogre” has taken up residence at the Kao farm, however from Pigsy’s point of view he has been nothing but a blessing to them. “Monkey suddenly began to sigh, murmuring “Was there ever such an unhappy girl as I?” “What are you grumbling about?” said the monster. “Since I came here, I’ve cost you something in food and drink, that I own. But I’ve more than earned what I have got. Haven’t I cleaned the ground and drained ditches, carried bricks and tiles, built walls, plough fields, planted grain, and improved the farm out of all knowing? You’ve got good clothes to wear and all the food you need. What’s all this childish nonsense about being unhappy?”(Pg32). When Monkey tricks Pigsy into talking to him it can be seen that if it were not for Pigsy’s appearance and his magic then he would be able to live on the farm and be accepted into the family with no qualms. In this case Pigsy is living quite the ordinary life however because of his faults it isn’t working out for everyone there. According to the heroic journey model he is in the ‘Ordinary World’ stage and is waiting for it to be shaken up by some event. In this case it is Monkey with his cudgel.