Rock Bottom By Elizabeth

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.

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American Born Chinese, page 191

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.

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American Born Chinese, page 84

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.

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Giving Up Your Soul by Elliot

In Gene Luen Yang‘s book American Born Chinese, the main character Jin, meets the Herbalist’s wife at the beginning of book and she says “It’s easy to become anything you wish, so long as you’re willing to forfeit your soul”. This quote means that you can be anything you want as long as you give up who you really are. It’s not necessarily wrong to change who you are because it helps you discover who you really are. In the book, the first character we meet, Monkey King, learns a lesson about finding yourself because he changed to try to be a god. Monkey King learned that he who he was after the monk, Wong Lai-Tsao, saves him from a mountain of rock by telling him to just be who he is. Monkey King accepts who he really was and then went on to be an emissary to Tze-Yo-Tzuh. Jin gave up everything, including his real friends, just to become popular. Jin tried to run away from the person he really was by changing into a white boy, in doing this Jin left his true friend, Wei-Chen, behind. Once he was white, Jin kept switching schools because he couldn’t accept his Asian heritage. American Born Chinese is a book all about change and this quote helps portray what the whole book is about.image