The Ramayana

Monkey and The Ramayana College

In ancient Eastern society, written novels eventually rose to a prominent place in culture, following upon a long tradition of oral accounts and short works such as poetry. In addition, with strict government policy on content, many authors and poets feared punishment and so avoided political or religious critique in their work. However, satire provided a way to possibly mask critical intentions while still entertaining the audience of the time period. Monkey, a translation of Journey to the West by Arthur Waley, is a prime example of the emergence of satire in the form of a fictional narrative, and offers great insight into the lifestyle and traditions during the Ming Dynasty. Another Eastern piece of great regard is the Ramayana. Regarded as scripture, the Ramayana is considered one of the greatest works for its religious teachings and insight to the Hinduistic culture and lifestyle of the time period, of which is somewhat ambiguous, as oral accounts preceded the written. Alberson describes the Ramayana’s influence thus: “To one who would know India, written history offers very little...But its literature, molded and shaped over centuries, gives us a far more intimate understanding of the guiding spirit of its peoples”...

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