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.
In the book, American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. Tells us about three different characters who are born Chinese. This book talks a lot about what it is like to be Chinese in a different country, but also teaches us many lessons. “To find your true identity…within the will of Tze-Yo-Tzah … is the highest of all freedoms.” To find your true identity, you must practice and believe in yourself. In this case, in order to find true identity, you must train with Tze-Yo-Tzah before you become a hero. In American Born Chinese, the Monkey King trained on his own, and did not train to be the best with the help of Tze-Yo-Tzah. The Monkey King showed up in front of Tze-Yo-Tzah, and thought he was the master. The Monkey King thought that since he trained on his own for Forty days, that he would be the “Great Sage.” But instead he acted very foolish in front of Tze-Yo-Tzah, and was buried under rocks for 500 years.
Wei-Chen’s transformer symbolizes in this book, because that was how he and Jin became friends. In the book, growing up is a big topic. When the Monkey King was younger he wanted to be hero when he grew up known as “The Great Sage”. Jin wanted to be a Transformer when he grew up. Danny wanted to be a basketball player when he grew up. This idea of “Transforming” will soon change yourself in life. This happens a lot throughout this book. Jin eventually has a crush on a girl, and tries to be a jock. He eventually turns back to his old self after doing crazy things. Monkey King wanted to be a hero. He was very foolish in the beginning, but after being under rock for 500 years. He saved Wong-Lai-Tsao, and lived up to that dream of being a hero. The whole point of transforming is talking about how you are when you are little, and then changing as you get older. This topic plays a big role in American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang.
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.
American Born Chinese, page 213
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.
American Born Chinese, page 43
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.