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Epic or Novel the Mystery Behind Monkey Essay

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Trunz Grace Trunz Professor Carroll Composition Literature 101H 8 December 2015 Epic or Novel? The Mystery behind Monkey The characteristics of the epic and the novel have been analyzed by many famous critics including M. M. Bakhtin, one of the most important critics of the twentieth century. He believes that he has successfully defined the attributes of epic and novel. In his article, “Epic and Novel” in The Dialogic Imagination, Bakhtin gives many different important guidelines that aid the reader in figuring out which genre a particular written work may lie in. One book that people poses some problems for generic analysis is Monkey, by Wu Ch’êng-ên, a story about a crazy monkey born from a rock who tries to find immortality and then goes on a journey to help a monk Hsüan Tsang obtain ancient scriptures. This particular book contains aspects of both an epic and a novel, as defined by Bakhtin. As the storyline develops Monkey is filled with an exciting adventure of the past, as well as many humorous moments that keep the book feeling young and alive. Although Monkey contains aspects of both an epic and a novel according to Bakhtin’s definitions of these genres, we are able to see that there is more evidence that supports the analysis of the book as a novel. Trunz 2 Bakhtin’s analysis on the attributes for a written work to be an epic aids in showing the few ways that Monkey resembles an epic. For example, Bakhtin writes a lot about how an epic is “antiquated ...
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