What Does It Mean to Forfeit Your Soul? by Nathan

The author of the book American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang, wrote an intellectually thought provoking quotes I have ever read. American Born Chinese is a graphic novel with three stories within it. The first story is about the Monkey King. It takes place in Chinese mythology. He is a mighty ruler who had mastered the four disciplines of kung- fu. He cannot get into a dinner party because he is not a human. He then shape shits into a human form and he shows everyone he is a human. The second story is the story of Jin. He moves to a predominately white neighborhood form China Town, California. He tries to fit in and face the stereotypes that come with being bicultural. The third story is the story of Chin Kee. He is the cousin and a white boy Danny. Chin Kee is meant to be the exact stereotype of a Chinese person. He wears old Chinese garments, has a long braid, and he had large buck teeth. This story also references prejudice cartoons about Asians from the last century.  “It’s easy to become anything you wish, so long as you’re willing to forfeit your soul.” That is a quote from the herbalist’s wife from the book. This quote means that you can do anything, but it comes at a price. For example, if there are people competing for a big prize, one person may get very rough and mean towards others. This person may win, but at the cost of his friendship. Everybody is guilty of trying different things to make yourself fit in and be likeable. In the story, Jin begins this process at Mayflower Elementary School by trying to break his Chinese image. He is made fun of because of the Chinese food he is seen eating. Although Jin later forfeits his soul.  It is wrong to do so because “forfeiting your soul” can change you. You can become selfish and lose your core values. A person could “forfeit their soul” for money, power, strength, fame, and other ways to gain power and popularity. These things are not worth forfeiting your soul, nothing is. Jin tries to lose his Asian heritage to become fully American for Amelia. Jin needs to realize that he cannot change who he is. He has to understand that he will always look one way and he needs to except that. You should not forfeit your soul. If you were to forfeit your soul, your life would go great ultimately leading to your downfall. This may include losing friends, family, and other people or just losing something of value to you. Just realize who you are and understand to embrace yourself.


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