Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Delores B. Gallo

Second Advisor

Kathleen Hartford

Third Advisor

John Murray


Monkey is one of the masterpieces in the genre of the classic Chinese novel. It has been immensely popular with the general reading public of China since the sixteenth century. Abridged and translated into English in 1943 by Arthur Waley, it has made its way onto the college campuses in the United States, and has been well appreciated. There is a recent complete and unabridged translation by Anthony Yu, with the title Journey to the West. In this thesis, I offer a series of critical essays on Monkey. The first essay locates the work in the genre. It traces its heritage in style and content to the story-telling tradition of China and contrasts Monkey to the most distinguished pieces in the genre. The next four essays focus on the individual characters of importance in the work. The sixth essay offers my interpretation of the view of Wu Ch’eng-en, its author, on what truth is and how a person may achieve his own truth. The final essay offers a reflection speculating on Wu’s processes and their connection to concepts in the literature on critical and creative thinking. It ends with a metacognitive description of my own processes in writing these essays.