Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese talks about people that try to fit into a world that is not very nice to them. The author creates three stories that seem quite different, but in reality, they are all similar in the way they all have the same goal, to be accepted, or try to “Fit in” The monkey king tried to get into a dinner party that only gods and deities were allowed to go to. Under the idea that he was considered a deity by the gods, he went to the party but was not allowed in because he is just a monkey to them. He wanted to be a deity, as he always called himself after the event “The Great Sage, Equal of Heaven” The monkey king wanted to change what he couldn’t change, what he was. All of the human gods and deities all saw him as just a monkey, an insignificant animal who has no power. And The monkey king wanted to change that by showing his power, but that only resulted in him being trapped for 500 years. Until he met Wong Lai-Tsao, and he learned to accept himself and helped him.
Throughout the book, the main characters, Monkey King (a fearless warrior who is a deity to flower fruit mountain and is master at Kung-Fu.) and Jin( A boy born in San Francisco who is ashamed of his Chinese heritage. So he does everything he can to be an all American boy so he can “fit in” with his friends from school.) But they learn that finding who they really are is more important than what they want to be in life. Here are ways that these 3 characters have changed.
Jin was ashamed of his Chinese heritage and figured out throughout his elementary years he wouldn’t make many friends. So Jin decided to perm his hair. The reason why he permed his hair is so he can be like a popular boy in his grade named Greg. It would also make him look like more of an American boy. But Jin later learns by the Monkey King that he should be proud of who he really is and needs to accept himself for who he is.
The Monkey King went to a dinner party, but he wouldn’t get let in because he was a monkey. So over time, he studies the ways of Kung-Fu and learns to shape shift into anything he wants. He uses that power to help others. But he learns his lesson by Tze Yo Tzuh. He realizes that he needs to use his powers for good. He transforms into the character Ckin-Kee in order to help Jin find who he really is.
All in all, these characters have to go through a lot throughout the story. The way they change can really impact the reader. It teaches the lesson of who you are is the best form of you. Because it’s what makes you, you.