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Though both authors did a credible job of bringing real problems and events to light, the American-born Chinese was the most pleasant text that I read. Gene Luen Yang's overarching moral in American Born Chinese is not particularly profound. The story uses a diplomatic approach that keeps it from devolving into a heavy-handed analysis of self-hatreds and bigotry. Stereotypes belonging to a single racial group are a widespread occurrence and an everyday tradition in our culture. If you're from the south, you're deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly Any Mexican is an undocumented immigrant! Any woman is overly responsive! Are just but a few stereotypes that people are subjected to. What makes the American Born Chinese an effective and enjoyable narrative is how Gene Yang purposefully satirizes the Asian stereotypes as if to hope that the addressee opens up to the reality of the existence of stereotypes in our society today.
In a systematic and artistic prowess, the author throws three contending stories at the reader, all of which end up converging in unexpected and exciting ways. The first narrative gives a young Chinese-American student’s slice-of-life account whereby he moves to a new town only to find himself on the receiving end of his class that was almost an all-white. The story that follows concerns a mythical Monkey King being denied entry to a heaven party and as a response, it makes an effort of elevating itself to a higher class of deity. The last story brings out the torture of an all-American high school student by Chin-Kee who happens to be the student’s cousin. In this last story, Yung personifies every imaginable, negative Chinese stereotype.
The vocabulary depicted by Chin-kee brings forth the stereotype that people from the Asian regions talk funny. An example is when Chin-Kee exclaims, “Harro! Cousin Da-Nee finally comes” (Yang, 2008, p. 204). The manner in which he speaks while addressing his cousin is stifled enforcing an opinion of those who poke fun as regards the manner in which the Asian people speak. This stereotyping also affects Jin in a negative way. We see him trying to put his nationality and character to the side so as to center on fitting in as one of the American grammar student school. While speaking with a woman at his mother’s doctor’s office, Jin responds by saying that he wants to be a transformer when asked about what he would like to be when he grows up. Despite elaborating to the woman of his mother’s perception to the idea as silly, Jin gets an encouraging response from her, “It’s easy to become anything you wish, so long as you’re willing to forfeit your soul” (Yang, 2008, p. 29). This shows the impact that stereotypes can have on individuals. This also happens to the monkey whereby despite the best efforts it puts to transform itself, its creator through stereotypes tells it of what it is not, what it is, and what it is meant to do. “I am Tze-Yo-Tzuh, all that I have created- all of the existence- forever remains within reach of my hand. You I have created. Therefore, you can never escape my reach” (Yang, 2008.p. 70). “I created you I say that you are a monkey; therefore, you are a monkey” (Yang, 2008, p. 69).
In conclusion, the author through well-crafted characters brings to light the existence of stereotypes in our society today making the narrative more effective and enjoyable. By tactfully, intertwining the three stories into one message of the existence and effects of stereotyping, the author addresses what we encounter in our daily activities.
Yang, G. L. (2008). American born Chinese. Parma: Guanda.
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