Type: Exploratory
Pages: 5 | Words: 1291
Reading Time: 6 Minutes

1. If Monkey’s wish to escape death represents his first step on an allegorical journey of spiritual elevation, what metaphorical meaning may be accorded his existence on Flower-Fruit Mountain?

Death represents ending of one journey and starting of another. This is a natural process which requires utmost courage and redemption of previous sins. Ending one’s life however, shows weakness of strength and running of problems by taking an easy way out. Wishing for the death to envelope you is even bigger weakness of faith, then ending your own life because that shows inability and limitations of oneself. Hence, Monkey’s desire to live shows his ability to recognize what is important and needs to be rectified. His wanting to live does represent his first steps towards a symbolic journey of spiritual elevation and salvation. His communion with his inner self and with the people around him accords his existence on Flower-Fruit Mountain. His desire to make a difference provoked him to escape his death and continue with his quest which would bring him to his ultimate treasure.

2. How does Monkey fall into dissoluteness after his dismissal by the Daoist Patriarch? Catalogue his misdemeanors and explain briefly their significance.  

Monkey lost his will to life shows his deprivation to survive which was caused by his sudden and untimely dismissal by the Daoist Patriarch. He never once assumed that he would be dismissed among the ranks to which he so faithfully served through all these years. But in his heart he knew that decision was forth coming as he did some immoral things which infuriated those sitting on the seat of power. His uncanny ability to interfere, eavesdrop and overstepping his boundary and his ambitious nature which so often have indulged him to break rules contributed his dismissal from the gathering.

3. How might the term “mind monkey” invite an allegorical interpretation of Monkey’s character? What similar terms apply to other characters and how? 

“Mind monkey” is a true fitting title for the character Monkey as it clearly and truly portrays his capability to judge people’s character, read people’s thought and through their gestures and postures can figure out their present state of mind. The word psyche is also another that defines Monkey.

4. How does the Eagle Grief Stream harbor delusion? What evidence can you find in the text? 

Casting doubts to people’s consciousness and making them unsure to their existence clearly shows that Eagle Grief Stream harbor delusion. It incites calamity and disorder, which provoke quarrels between friends and turn them in to foes.

5. How does Monkey, Pigsy, Sha Monk and son of the dragon king attain salvation through Buddhism early in the novel? 

Through attaining a way of life, seeking redemption, getting life long lessons of beauty and preservation of every life which is sacred. They accomplished this in the beginning of their journey which greatly helped them to fight perils that awaited them on every corner of their quest.

6. How might the crossing of the Flowing Sands River act as a figurative (allegorical) crossing? Where is the evidence for this?  

The hero’s transformation in to something so beauty and life prolonging signifies their symbolic crossing of the Flowing Sands River. Their vision to cultivate hope and survival increased immensely which helped them to attain greatness in latter part of the journey.

7. How is it that bodhisattvas can act as seducing entities that hinder the character’s quest for Buddhist enlightenment in chapter 19? 

Bodhisattvas can consume people and rid them of their true sight. They can indulge people in to giving up everything to blindly pursue them. Their seduction is so alluring that many have fallen in their tentacles. That’s why when the characters came to their company; they felt sudden desire to abandon everything that forced them up to this point but they fought this evil entity that could hinder their quest for Buddhist enlightenment.

Does Monkey’s killing of his look-alike at the end of chapter 27 constitute a violation of the Buddhist prohibition against killing life? Why or why not? 

Preservation of life is sacred in Buddhist religion but if that same life can harm others and disturbs the natural balance of things, then that same life must be get rid to create harmony and equilibrium. Thus, Monkey’s killing his look-alike was not a violation as that imposter was creating havoc and disorder.

What might the allegorical significance of the character’s crossing the Cloud Transcending Stream be?

When the characters crossed the stream they left moved by the sudden calmness that took them beyond the very fabric of the universe to a place so divine and serene that they felt moved beyond their wildest comprehension. They were transformed from their old selves to something much more profound and unique.

What evidence in the chapter 27 invites an allegorical reading of the Monkey King look-alike? 

Monkey king look-alike aroused doubts in  people’s mind which is a direct contradiction of the real Monkey King who despite of tiring situations always seemed to hold on to something. He knew that by holding on to something he was giving hope to those who despair in situation when nothing seems to be working for one self. The fake monkey king creates disorder and doesn’t want the characters to succeed in their quest for it will ruin the setup he laid for their destruction.

8. Does the pilgrim’s conversion of the king in chapters 20 to 22 and their overcoming of the Daoist influence in his kingdom exhibit disrespect of the Daoist tradition? Why or why not? 

It does in fact exhibit disrespect of the Daoist Tradition as it threatens the very nature on which their norms and cultural value lays. By taking out the influence of Daoist from the kingdom, the king and the pilgrim showed immense disrespect to the Daoist way of life, which they so long have worked to maintain peace and tranquility in the region.

9. How does the couplet at the end of chapter 23 relate to the chapter? In other words, what allegorical interpretation does it invite? 

The couplet at the end of chapter 23 relates to hope and survival. In the story, when the character lost all the hope and their will to move forward died after questing for months, they suddenly met with shear luck, which gave them hope and a will to fight despair and hopelessness. That’s way this couplet teaches them never to give up under any circumstances as the night is the darkest before the dawn that no matter what happens good always triumph. It taught them the value of friendship and significance of trusting in friends. This couplet teaches life prolonging lessons of moving forward with zeal and enthusiasm until you achieve whatever you set out to do with determination and courage.

10. On what basis might one argue an allegorical interpretation for Tripitaka’s avoidance of matrimony with the queen of the Kingdom of Women and his subsequent abduction by the friend? Where is the evidence? 

His inability to commit to one person shows his weakness of character. Eventhough, he showed immense pleasure in accepting the proposal at first. When the time came he became cold feet and tried to avoid the real encounter. His abduction was no more than a plot to escape from the inevitable union. He set the whole thing up in order to make it look like a fiend trap.

How might the significance of the pilgrim’s having received blank sutras be explained?

The blank sutras represent threat and warning by the Daoist Patriarch, whose influence was shattered but the pilgrims. This also represents the blank canvas on which their death will be written by their own blood. Its an open call for war.

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