We are starting work on a new project to teach year 7's about the popular Chinese legend 'Journey to the West'. We were asked to produce a series of workshops which would run along the theme 'Myths and Legends' and after meeting the teacher and visiting the school we thought it would be great to choose a story which was not usually studied in a school in the UK. It has many comparisons to popular greek myths and English legends that the year 7s have been studying but 'The Journey to the West' just seems a bit cooler for some reason. Its a nice change from our science project about the digestive system, and for anyone who is familiar with the story it is definitely a complex subject for play-o-logy to tackle! The translated version isn't really suitable for the age group as it is really long and quite heavy reading. However because the original Chinese version was written in the 16th century its is a story which has been passed down over many centuries. There are lots of shortened versions and many modern adaptions and cartoons that we have been getting our teeth into. Here are a few things which are inspiring our first look at the story.
The Monkey King - The main character we are focusing on. The stone Monkey was born from a stone egg on a mountainside. Not satisfied with just becoming the Monkey King, he goes on a quest to become immortal, a God and an enlightened being all in one with pretty funny results.
Banquet of the Immortal Peaches - The Queen Mother of the West throws a banquet in heaven where Immortal peaches which have been grown for 6000 years are served. One peach adds over 1000 years to the person who eats it. The Monkey King after making it as a God ruins the banquet by tricking all the other Gods and then eating lots of peaches which makes him super strong.