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Animal Characters in Literature

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Various authors use animals to portray different themes and to trace the parallel with the human society characters. Authors use animals for the purposes of symbolizing the preferred themes or characters. This paper looks at different use of animal characters to bring up the best of human character.

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The use of animal characters in literature is symbolic for the pusposes of avoiding direct targeting of intended persons. It is a useful tool to portray the people and their characters. In African and African American cultures there are proverbs and idioms that relate to animals to help describe a person’s behavior. An example of a character used in literature is a hyena and a hare, where the hyena is characterized with greed, while the hare is portrayed as cunning and clever. The use of animal characters in literature shows symbolism of the real relationships among people in a society.

The story titled ‘Monkey King’ by Wu Cheng-En, is an example of animals featuring in literature as symbols of social interactions in the real human life situations. The story is an allegory to the Chinese religion Buddhism. The main characters Tripitaka, Monkey, Pigsy, Sandy, and the Dragon going off together in a journey, which depicts the challenges that the Buddhist pilgrims has overcame. Tripitaka illustrates a strict adherence to the religion indicating the symbol of Buddhism. Buddhists should beg for necessities and refrain from display of violent behavior on the path to be enlightened, which is shown by Tripitaka when he refuses Mr. Kao’s gift. He explains “A priest…should be ready to die rather than commit acts of violence” (Wu 21). 'Monkey King' is a narration that depicts the Buddhist religion in details, which helps the reader understand the religion's beliefs and rules.

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