Wu Cheng'en's novel Journey to the West tells the story of the pilgrimage of the Buddhist monk Xuanzang to India in search of sacred texts. In this Chinese classic from the Ming Dynasty, Xuanzang, along with his three disciples—Sun Wukong (Monkey), Zhu Bajie (Pigsy) and Sha Wujing (Sandy)—encountered monsters and other obstacles, triumphing through their wit and teamwork.
Taking the perspective of one of the four characters, write a story that happened during the journey. You can choose a story from the original work or create your own story. Write in the first person singular. Your composition should be between 600 and 800 words and have your own title.
1. 缺乏完整故事：缺少清晰的故事线（clear storyline）、情节（plots）、标志性人物（iconic characters）、冲突（conflicts）、高潮（climax）以及对话（dialogues）等关键元素。今年的决赛作文中，较少有选手能够陈述完整的故事。有些选手甚至以书信形式或者回忆录形式完成，这些都可以接受，但是评委更期待一个完整的故事。
2. 缺乏对《西游记》背景的了解：对作品的时代与主题（time and theme）、人物的标志性性格特质（personality traits）等方面了解不足。有少部分选手希望自己的故事给人耳目一新的感觉，例如他们让马可·波罗进入到故事中，让孙悟空来到21世纪，甚至劝说玄奘还俗。这些自由的想象都无可厚非，但是在他们的故事中，我们想看到选手了解《西游记》的故事和人物，能够展现自己的知识、逻辑和素养。
The Brilliance of Humanity
It was a cold winter night. The streets fell into utter silence and the whole town seemed to be forgotten and forlorned by the world. My three disciples, Monkey, Pigsy, Sandy, and I lived in a dilapidated house offered by a kind monk. We were almost at the end of our journey of the pilgrimage. Everything in this house has already been covered in the thick dust of time. My three disciples have already fallen asleep and it seemed that Pigsy had very sweet dreams, but the silence was broken all of a sudden when a weak voice emitted from somewhere outside.
"Help! Help!" I recognized that it was a pitiful old woman's voice. It was so little that I could not even hear it. I stood up and said with certainty, "We must go and save her. Monsters might have come. She must be in great perils." Pigsy was not willing to get out of his bed and looked up at me with impatience. "You must be mistaken. It is so cold outside. Who will still be hanging out at the midnight? Why don't you simply go back to your warm bed and have a nice rest?" There was a distinct sense of mercilessness in his tone. But that little, sympathetic voice still lingered in my mind.
"She must be a monster. She simply pretends to be an old woman only to cheat people as benevolent as you. Don't believe her. Just ignore it." Monkey stayed in his bed, trying to persuade me. "All the people here have been so friendly to us, but we have nothing to give them. At least, it is our duty to protect them from the hazards of the monsters." I said gravely. "But we have been reaching out helping hands so many times. You have always been cheated by the monsters' fake appearance all along the journey. We are so close to the fame and fortune. You know, what I want are simply delicate food and beauties." Pigsy gave an unkind but stupid smile. He seemed to have changed from being warm-hearted to a relentless person who only craves for personal fame and fortune. "This is the last place that we travel. Just sleep and tomorrow we will arrive the West and gain success." Sandy added.
I was being extremely angry and frustrated. "I am so disappointed about you. What I have always been teaching you is to become warm-hearted and selfless and be ready to help those in need at any time. One who only cares about his or her personal interest will finally be abandoned by the world. " I took a step further towards them and continued. "The ultimate goal of our pilgrimage is by no means gaining fame and fortune for us. Instead, it is of paramount importance for us to help the people in need, especially the underclass of the society, to lead a fuller and richer life."
Despite their persuasion, I still went out alone in search of the weak voice. "Is anybody there?" I asked with uncertainty. "Here! Here!" The old woman raised her hoarse voice with excitement. She was sitting in a corner, tightly trapped in a rope. "The monster took away my grandchild! Could you please help me to find my boy back? He is so little. Please!" She kept begging me to find her grandson. "Yes, of course. Calm down please. Trust me. I will find you your boy." The old woman then expressed her most heartfelt gratitude to me. Then, I went out into the dark wood alone. My three disciples must be sleeping, I thought sorrowfully. As I moved forward, I saw a figure ahead with a kid beside it. It was a human-like monster, but his appearance was quite different from humans. I was terrified. I knew I was not as powerful as my three disciples were. But at that time, the last thing I wanted to do in this world was to flinch away and leave the little kid in danger. I confronted him by hitting his legs with my utmost efforts, but he was so formidable that he simply caught me within a mile's stone. "If I eat you, I will be immortal!" He uttered the words in an evil tone. "Go away, monster!" It was Monkey. They came to save us! The monster was then beaten and the kid and I were saved by my disciples.
"Thank you so much." The kid expressed his thanks to us. "Go home, my boy." I said to him gently. My three disciples showed a sense of guilt and then apologized to me. "We were so foolish that we only cared about ourselves. We will always give priority to the peoples' and the nation's interest. We are so sorry." I was delighted even though I got hurt during the battle against the monster.
Then, we went back to the deserted house. This time, the house seemed to be softly gleaming under the silver moonlight.
以“The Brilliance of Humanity（《人性的光辉》）”为题，故事主要凸显唐僧以众生为念、坚定不移的主题。选手特别设置三位徒弟被胜利所诱惑的情节（虽有些许夸张）来烘托主题，成功运用了对比的手法。故事结尾以隐喻照应主题。
另外，有些语言过于追求生僻或优美词汇，造成语法、搭配或语境方面使用不当。例如，“forlorned by the world”“dilapidated house”“distinct sense of mercilessness”“of paramount importance”“trapped in a rope”“flinch away”等。这一点也是写作大赛中多数选手会触及的误区。大赛绝不仅仅关注语言形式的运用，更关注清晰表达出来的精彩思想内容。