Can you change for the better or only for the worst? And if you change can you change back? Change is imperative to developing yourself as a person and figuring out what works out for yourself. Overall American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang is about figuring out that your true form is your only form. Characters in American Born Chinese experience a change like Jin and Wei-Chen. Jin goes through the transformation of his hair, which he permed, his overall confidence, and he is more sure of himself. For example, on page 188 when he kisses Susy, Wei-Chin’s girlfriend, he has sudden bolts of confidence that change his actions. Also, he feels no remorse, which relates to him being more sure of himself and him believing in himself, which he states on page 192. Next, Wei-Chin modifies himself by his appearance because at first he looked more like a nerd now he looks more like a bad boy even though he has the same personality for the most part (you can see his new look on page 229). Even when Jin tried to change to Danny he couldn’t stay him forever because that wasn’t who he was and that’s why the Monkey King changed him back, just like the monkey changed back to his monkey form because that’s when he was at his best. The Monkey King believes that true form is the only form, I have experienced the feeling of trying to adjust. Since I was a little kid I was constantly altering myself for other peoples liking but deep down I always thought change wasn’t needed. Now, at the beginning of 8th grade I have figured out that I was always bound to change and changing is for the better because if you don’t change how are you supposed to develop as a person? Everyone changes for the better or for the worse, change is inevitable.
In the book, American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, the character Chin-Kee’s story is drawn in a sitcom format, much like the show Everybody Loves Raymond. He included visual elements such as an applause and laugh track at the bottom of the page. Gene Yang used a sitcom format to show us how stereotypes are deeply ingrained in television shows and movies. The media has portrayed the ‘typical American family’ as an upper middle class, white family. In most of these shows, characters that are not white are heavily stereotyped, dehumanizing people of these cultures and making them seem like aliens. For example, the movie Sixteen Candles has a character named Long Duk Dong. His character is a combination of Chinese stereotypes such as not being able to speak English well and trying his best to be cool and fit in. Gene yang wanted his readers to see how these stereotypes are taken lightly and often go unnoticed, forcing us to see how racist and wrong it actually is.
In this book American Born Chinese , by Gene Luen Yang, there are three main characters. Each have their own stories. Jin is a Chinese American who wants to be the “All American Boy,” with blonde hair and blue eyes. The second character is Chinkee, who is from China and visits his American cousin Danny every year. When he comes he always messes things up for Danny and is over stereotyped. The other character is the Monkey King. He refuses to be called a monkey. All of these characters try to find their true identity throughout the book. To find your true identity you have through go through some changes. Change is good. Change is healthy. Without it you will always be the same person. Maybe that person isn’t you, but you don’t know that because you haven’t gone through change. All the characters had dramatic changes from just their looks all the way to their personality. One of the characters, the Monkey King changed in a numerous amount of ways. For example, on page 15, after the monkey king was embarrassed he went into hiding. While he was in hiding he was changing into somebody different. On page 56 he trained nonstop so that he could become immortal and invincible. And so on page 59 he came out of hiding and announced that he was not the monkey king anymore and was to be called “The Great Sage Equal of Heaven.” He changed because he never wanted to be embarrassed again and wanted everyone to respect him.
In the book American Born Chinese written by Gene Yang every story has a character struggling to accept their true identity. Gene Luen Yang is showing readers that it is okay to be who you truly are. That it’s better to walk alone than with a crowd going in the wrong direction. The book is separated into three different stories Jin, Chin-kee, and The Monkey King. Jin is a young boy who is from San Francisco but because of his looks everybody assumes he is from China. When Jin is made fun of he decides to start small and change his hair. When this doesn’t work he gives up his relationships with his friend to make his “dream” come true of becoming the all American Boy.
In the second story, Monkey King, he wants nothing more than to be a God, but because he is not a human he cannot. Therefore he gives up his monkey characteristics for power. When the creator of all existence, Tze-Yo-Tzuh, realizes what he is trying to do, he tells the Monkey King that “everything is within the reach of his hand.” The Monkey King chooses to let his ego get the best of him, and Tze-Yo-Tzuh does the only thing to help the Monkey King, he buries him under a pile of rocks for 500 years.
This book teaches the readers that you can change your hair, your identity, or personality but underneath it all you are still the same person. In this book the characters forfeit everything to only end up alone, they hit rock bottom. This taught them that they needed to accept who they are to not be alone.
In the book American Born Chinese written by Gene Luen Yang, it shows the three main characters finding who they truly are. Jin, one of the main characters, is an American boy who has lived in San Francisco’s China Town his whole life and is now moving to a mostly white town. Throughout the whole book, he is trying to find himself. It means that if you find what you really love and who you really are you will be the person possible. Like in the book Jin wants to be a white American so badly and eventually become it and it shows that on pages 194-198. After being confronted about it he realizes he love himself as he was, but people were not accepting of it. In this book, the theme is finding your true yourself… and that’s what every character ends up doing.
“It’s easy to become anything you wish, so long as you’re willing to forfeit your soul.” In this quote from American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, he is telling us that it’s not worth losing what you love for something that you want to be like in the book when Jin turns into an all American boy overnight and changes into Danny (pg. 194-198). When you work for something, it does usually mean you get something in return. Believing in that isn’t wrong, it’s just what you want to believe in, and everyone has different beliefs. Others would give up their soul for what they love. The other characters in the story return to their true form by sticking with what’s right. Wei-Chen had thoughts about his true form. The Monkey King came back to his true form after he talked to Wong Lai-Tsao. In the beginning, it’s about a toy that Jin loved to play with, a Transformer. Throughout the book the characters are “transforming”. Monkey King transformed from Chin-Kee into “The Monkey King, Emissary of Tze-Yo-Tzuh”. Jin transformed into what he’s always wanted to be, a Caucasian boy, and back to himself. Wei-Chen transformed into a human from a monkey. At the end of the book, all the characters learned to change for the better.
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang is a book about three different people with Chinese heritage. These characters all have problems accepting who they are and try to become something different. They all go on different journeys to find themselves. In the beginning of the book, an Herbalists wife tells Jin he can be anyone he wants as long as he is willing to forfeit his soul. It means you can be anyone you can be anyone you want but only if you are willing to get rid of your heritage and identity. For instance, when Jin turns into Danny and forfeits his soul. Or when monkey king tries to convince himself that he’s human by shapeshifting into a human. But neither of them got the result they were looking for, Monkey King got trapped under a rock for 500 years, and Jin was forced to go back to his true form. I think Gene Luen Yang was trying to say with this quote that you can’t really change what you look like but can choose to try to get rid of a part of your identity that your embarrassed of. An example of this is on page 37 where Jing first meets Wei Chen he does not want to be friends with him because he is afraid he will embarrass him. I think Wei Chen embodied what Jin did not want to be seen as so at first he tried to separate himself from Wei Chen. All of the characters were resistant to accepting themselves at first especially Monkey King. But in the end, Monkey King helps Jin learn to accept himself by using the third character, Chin-Kee to help Jin/Danny understand that you can’t run away from who you are.