Don’t Forfeit Your Soul by Zach

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American Born Chinese, page 37

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.

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