Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Following the Monkey King

At the beginning of my World Literature class, second semester, we begin with the story of the Monkey King, or Monkey, or Journey to the West. It's a crazy mixture of Buddhist philosophy and action/adventure, a great story that just begs to be told and retold--and is. I've been gathering images for a photo slideshow to use in my class, and it's impressive what there is available, from images of a TV show (stills and video) to pictures of toys, exercise equipment, cartoons, movies, and comic books, among others. The reader follows the adventure of Monkey as he assists Tripitaka who travels west to India. The two are accompanied by Pigsy and Sandy, a pig and a dragon.

What's really amazing is that although millions of people recognize Monkey and his crown, people in the West are largely unaware of the story. Most do enjoy the encounter, however late it comes.

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