Journey To the West was written by Wu Chen-en, and is considered to be one of the four great classic novels written during the Ming Dynasty (c. 1500-1582). Wu Chen-en was an elder statesman who witnessed a lot in his life, both good and bad, yet ultimately came away with great faith in human nature to face hardships and survive with good humor and compassion. The story has many layers of meaning and may be read on many different levels such as; a quest and an adventure, a fantasy, a personal search (on the Monkey’s part) for self-cultivation, or a political/social satire. The story is a pseudo-historical account of a monk (Xuanzang) who went to India in the 7th century to seek Buddhist scriptures to bring back to China. The principle story consists of eighty-one calamities suffered by (Monkey) and his guardians (Tripitaka and Sandy, who are monks, and Pigsy, a pig).
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