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During her search for the holy man, she encounters three monsters, Zhu Bajie- a pig monster, a dragon and Wu Kong- the monkey that had been trapped in the mountain by Lord Buddha. She convinces them to join her mission and they accept. Later, the three monsters also accompany Xuan Zang- the holy man on his trip to the West. (Shepard, 2008)
The story is mostly centered along this journey. The journey is used allegorically to showcase the spiritual growth that humans experience in their lifetimes. The growth of spiritual wisdom is directly linked to the maturation of human personality. The four pilgrims represent a different facet of human life enjoined together by the journey. Zhu Bajie, the pig monster represents greed and materialism, Xuan Zang represents holiness and naivety, Wu Kong represents power and selfishness while the dragon stood for submission. None of the pilgrims could have survived this journey alone. Monkey, though very strong, would have been side-tracked due to his hasty decisions and anger. The pig monster would have fallen victim to his own sensual appetites while the dragon would have lacked direction as he is good at taking orders but not making them.
Xuan Zang is actually the weakest member of the group. This is because he is too good and trusts everyone. He is unable to separate the good from evil since he views people and situations from the positive aspect. When confronted by the evil tigers, he does not know what to do and ends up crying. However, for the journey (which symbolizes life) to be successful, these four characters have to be entwined. As much as the West represents India in the story, it also symbolizes sunset- the end of the physical world and the dawn of a spiritual world. The Tripitika, or the Indian wisdom would illuminate their souls to heavenly glory. Xuan is selected by Kuan-yin because he is not soiled by
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