American Born Chinese was a book that I would have initially missed reading because it didn’t appeal to me then. However, it wasn’t until the three narratives intertwined at the end that I realized that this was a great read. Jin, Danny, and the Monkey King all have one thing in common; they try to become something they are not, and they lose their sense of identity until the realization of the truth that we cannot fight who we really are. Jin comes to America and desperately tries to fit in with his classmates and assimilate. The Monkey King tried to become something greater than himself, and become an equal with the other deities. Danny is what looks to be a normal high school student, but is plagued by his Chinese cousin’s visits every year to his school. Each story has different content but primarily focuses on the theme of identity, and how each of them find their own identity.
Jin had a hard time growing up, which is especially shown in the beginning, with his tough time assimilating into the American society, and quest to find his true identity. Jin best expresses these ideas when he says, “Yeah! A robot in disguise! Like this one! He changes into a truck… see? More than meets the eye!” (28) Jin wants to be noticed, to be more than the stereotypes about the Chinese people. Jin’s quest to become an equal in the face of American society will ultimately lead him to find his own personal identity later in the story. Jin decides to change himself further on page 97, when he thinks changing his hairstyle to an afro like the other American boy will help him get noticed by Amelia Harris. Jin believes these sacrifices to his own personal identity will ultimately let him become a regular American student. In actuality, Jin can change a few things, but he can’t change who he really is.
The Monkey king was an entertaining tale about a monkey that felt he deserved to be respected and an equal amongst the other deities. His quest to become something...
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