Journey to the West is a classic Chinese novel published by Wu Cheng’en in the 16th century during the late Ming when there was a universal interaction between the society and religious institutions (Brook.1993). In most English-speaking countries, it is widely known as the Monkey. The Journey is one of the Four Masterpieces in Chinese literatures. Through the long history, “Journey to the west” is known by every household with a high recognition degree. The description of the Journey is full of humor and wit, giving the readers a keen interest. This essay will explore Journey to the West in terms of culture continuity of culture continuity and change.
This is a mythology novel basing on the Tang Dynasty. The Buddha gave a task to Xuanzang (玄奘), and offered him three protectors who would help him as atonement for their sins. These disciples are Sun Wukong(孙悟空), Zhu Bajie (猪八戒), Sha Wujing(沙悟净), and a white horse, who is a dragon prince acting as Xuanzang’s steed. Journey to the West has strong roots in Chinese folk religion, mythology, and Taoist and Buddhist philosophy.
Until now, the TV play series of Journey to the West is repeated many times during the summer holidays. I can clearly remember the stories in this work since I have watched it many times. I dare to say that every child want to be Sun Wukong who is a main character in this work, because he stands for wit, brave, Loyalty and so on. He is born from a stone, which is an ancient rack created by the Heaven and Earth in the Flower Fruit Mountain. His main weapon is the “Ruyi Jingu Bang” (如意金箍棒), which can be shrunk down to a needle and kept in his ear, and it also can be expanded into a gigantic proportions. His cunning mind and childlike playfulness coupled with his great power, making him a trickster hero (Changyu, 1999).
TV plays and film techniques
Talking about “journey to the west” in the TV plays’ adaptation, the most successful is the twenty-five episode TV series which was made by the CCTV in twentieth Century 80’s. This TV series has created numerous brilliant screen images, which has taken six years (1982-1982) to complete. This play has combined film, art and other forms of drama. In addition, this play also is a collection of some famous film, drama, opera artists. It also made a miracle of audience ratings in n twentieth Century 80’s. Liuxiaolingtong(六小龄童) created the image of Sun Wukong winning a great support among the people. For a long time the audience are likely to believe that Liuxiaolingtong is the original of Sun Wukong, which becomes difficulty to go beyond among these classic in the adapted works.
Impacts of culture
In China, each character in the novel is better known by every household, which is wide spread and has a deep influence on ordinary people. It is no wonder that the Journey is also a major work of Chinese religious literature (Zhang, 2008). The goal of their journey is to the West to receive Buddhist sutras, and particular adventures are only parts of the progress of the exploration as a whole (Zhang, 2008).
Some researchers also indicate that there is too much force in the novel, which will make the children to wonder that the force can resolve all problems (Gustav. 1983). In addition, the monsters always run only in one groove, when they want to wait for their partners to eat Xuanzang’s flesh, which can make them young forever. However, this always makes them fail to handle the best time (Jeremiah. 1994).
No matter which way we look at this classic novel, we cannot neglect its culture continuity in China. Although its forms are changing, the culture in it will continue to impact Chinese people. Therefore, I believe that this classic novel and its adaption will continue in some other aspects with some change of the society development.
Journey to the West has been adapted to many kinds of movies, TV plays and Cartoons not only in China but all over the world. This essay has mentioned the basic materials about the novel. Furthermore, there is a TV play, which was made by CCTV in 1982, and a film, which was launched in 1995 by Stephen Chow. This adaption of Journey to the West is really a great contribution to the culture. The essay also indicates the culture continuity and changes in its so many adoptions. For so many years, Journey to the West has influenced Chinese people generation by generations, which is the power of Classic masterpiece.