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Wu Cheng'en And Journey To The West

Journey to the West, the most brilliant Chinese mythological novel, came out in the middle of the Ming Dynasty. It is written by Wu Cheng'en(c. 1500-c. 1582).

Journey to the West tells the story of how Xuan Zang, a Buddhistmonk of the Tang Dynasty, endures countless difficulties imposed byvarious monsters and demons, and finally gets to the West assisted byhis three disciples: Sun Wukong (Monkey King, Pigsy and Friar Sha.The Monkey King is the most brilliant figure in the novel. He loves freedomand has a fighting spirit. He is arrogant and unyielding in the face ofgods and Buddhist, but at the same time very obedient and loyal to hismaster, Xuan Zang. Xuan Zang's character embodies both the piety of aBuddhist monk and the stubbornness of a feudal scholar. The authorcriticizes Xuan Zang's timidity and incompetence by contrasting hischaracter to Sun Wukong's bravery and resourcefulness. Pigsy is animportant foil in the novel. He is rude and avaricious, and lusts afterwomen. His arrogance and self-pitying behavior brings much comic reliefto the novel.

Journey to the West imagines a world of rigid hierarchy managed bygods, which apparently mirrors the social reality of the actual world. Thealmighty Jade Emperor (the Supreme Deity of Taoism), the High Lord,the Buddhist monks and all kinds of cruel monsters and demons are allarchetypes to be found in real life.

Journey to the West has a strong romantic flavor The author createsa supernatural world, but the gods and spirits, their magic weapons andeven the environment in which they live are all based on reality Whiledepicting various gods and demons, the author not only endows themwith supernatural abilities but also with the attributive character of ananimal. For example, Sun Wukong's agility and impatience comes froma monkey's character, while his optimism and rebellious personalityappear to be human. In different ways, rich and fantastic imaginationand real life are well blended in Journey to the West.

The structure of Journey to the West centers on characters, withthe plot being carried out with their actions. All the 81 difficulties XuanZang and his disciples encounter are vividly told around the complicatedrelationships among Buddhist monks, Buddhas and demons, with eachstory remaining relatively independent.

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