Thursday, September 22, 2011

American Born Chinese Themes: Shame, Identity and Boxes


Now that you have read over half of American Born Chinese, you should be able to see themes emerging in all three different story lines within the graphic novel. Your assignment is to name one of those emerging themes and explain, using specific examples from the text, how you see each of the three story lines developing and extending that theme. Your post should be at least six sentences long. If you are unsure of the definition of "theme," consult your literary term glossary at the back of Social Justice.


Remember--read the post, and then click on the word "comments" just below that post. After you have written your post, add your first name, then "Doyle," then your period (so, Zeus Doyle 1-2). Then, select "Anonymous" for your identity and click "publish your comment."

You may comment upon your classmates responses, but be sure to do so respectfully. Remember to write your answer in complete sentence and avoid "IM"-speak.

40 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think one of the main themes of the three plots of ABC is shame. What I mean by that, is in all three plots, all of the characters are either ashamed of who they are, or of one of their relations. The monkey king eventually conquers his shame, and resumes his true form, that of a monkey. I think that the way that Chinkee has been showing up every year since eighth grade. It is almost like he is a signpost in Danny's soul. He acts almost as Danny's concsience.

-Isabella Doyle 1/2

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think one of the themes is identity. Something with identity comes up in all of the story lines. In the Monkey King’s story, he uses his karate abilities to become a much bigger, stronger looking character. On page 60 you can see him looking a lot different than before. The reason he did this is because he wanted to be equal or more powerful than the other gods. In Jin’s story, he changes his hair to what he thinks Amelia likes. He changes his hair to what looks like a broccoli, because he thinks Amelia likes Greg, who also has hair that looks like broccoli. In Danny’s story he wants to get away from Chin-Kee because when ever he was come to visit Danny’s ego has been so crushed that he has to change schools. To avoid having to switch schools again Danny tries to ignore Chin-Kee and not act as if they are related. On page 114 Danny says “Get away from me” after Chin-Kee asks if Danny wants some cat gizzard.

Criss Doyle 6-7

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isabella, you gave away the ending, however, I certainly agree that shame is one of the predominant elements in this story. The Monkey king is ashamed to himself because he was considered uncivilized. Jin is also can't seem to fit into his own skin and starts to want to change, but becoming kind off like Greg. It is kind of like HYWT and BWJ. However, I feel that Rebecca is slightly more mature because she realizes where she belongs earlier. Danny is also ashamed of himself because he is related to Chin Kee who has been haunting him since 8th Grade

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think one of the main themes in ABC is identity. Jin does not want to be identified as someone who is Chinese. He tries everything he can think of to become more American. At one point he even gets a perm. The monkey king does not want to be identified as a monkey. He only becomes free when he realizes how good it is to be a monkey.

Elena Doyle 1/2

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the themes in this book is trying to fit in with the bigger crowd by not being what they really are. The monkey king is trying to fit in with the gods in heaven and will not accept the fact that he is a monkey (seen on page 15). Jin is trying to be one of the popular kids in school, but they won’t accept him for being Asian (as seen in page 96). Danny was succeeding in being popular until Chin-kee came along and is made fun of for being related to him (page 121).Nicky doyle 1-2

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The way I see it, in ALL of the story lines at least one of the characters is trying to be something they're not. For the Jin section of the book, he's ashamed of his ethnicity and is trying to fit in. However, fitting in doesn't necessarily mean you'll be happy. For the Monkey King, he's embarrassed by the other gods because of the fact he's a monkey. He thinks that if he masters the 12 disciplines of kung-fu he'll be accepted. But, the guard at the palace told him he'll always be a monkey, and it's true. Being a monkey in this case doesn't mean that he's a lesser being. For me, the Chin-kee section of the story holds the most meaning. Chin-kee "chink ee" even his name is a racial slur. I pity his character. He's meant to be repulsive and obnoxious. He really is. But I feel like he's also a nice person. His cousin Danny is basically trying to live down his cousins yearly visit. He really wants to fit in and it's not so easy.
Payton Doyle 6-7

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All three of the plots have to do with shame. The three characters don't want to be who or what they are. Such as The monkey king who wants to be human/god instead of a monkey. Or Danny who doesn't want anything to do with Chinkee. Which I think symbolizes that he doesn't want to be what he is, Chinese.

-Julia :D
Pd. 1/2

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the main themes is shame. In every story one of the characters is ashamed of themselves or one of there relatives. In the Monkey king story he is ashamed of being a monkey and transforms himself into a human. In the Chin-kee story Danny is ashamed of his relative Chin-kee. Danny tries to get away from Chin-kee and keep him from doing anything stupid but he can't. In the Jin story Jin is ashamed of who he is. He changes his hair because he thinks people will like him if he does.

Nick 6/7

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think a main theme in American born Chinese is that the main characters don’t know their true identity. For example, the Monkey King thinks that he is a human and a hero, but everybody else thinks he is just a monkey. Jin is an Asian American, but he doesn’t think he is Asian because he’s been in America almost all of his life. On the other hand, Wei Chen feels like he’s still in Asia and he still practices Asian culture even though he is in America. All three characters have two different identities. Wei Chen thinks he’s Asian, Jin thinks he’s American, and the monkey king thinks he’s human. At this point in the book, each character identifies one part of them more than the other.

noah weber

6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think one of the main themes in American Born Chinese is being ashamed and trying to escaping the box into the box of the bigger group. All three character want to do this. The Monkey King wants to be part of the gods and will do anything to fit in but then Sovereign comes and talks to him he comes to his senses. Jin wants to be out of the box of American-Chinese and into the American box and so he changes his hair and acts different. He finally changes for good. Danny has what he wants he looks American and then when his cousin comes he wants to be anyone else.
-Bailey (per1-2)

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the main theme in the the story lines in ABC is shame. In the beginning with the monkey king when he wasn't allowed to go in the party that the gods were having because he didn't have shoes. He felt ashamed because even though the is different than them it doesn't mean that he isn't allowed to go to heaven because he isn't wearing shoes. At the end the monkey realizes that it doesn't matter and on page 160 when he takes off his shoes he realizes who he is and resumes back to his true form. When Jin goes to his first day of school he is ashamed of himself because of what he thinks everyone will say, and of himself and he doesn't want to be what his culture is he wants to be something or someone who is different. Which is why I think he has the Danny disguise. Danny is ashamed of himself because every year that Chinkee comes he ends up going to a different school because Chinkee embarrasses him so much that he doesn't wan't to go there anymore because he's ashamed of himself and what people think.

9:37 AM  
Blogger TaylorNicole said...

I think that one of the three emerging plot would have to defiantly be anger and violence throughout the book. You don't see a lot of the characters express their anger until it get to an extreme and or violence especially in the monkey king we ever he is feeling ashamed of himself because of what others are saying and thinking he attacks them instead of walking away and ignoring them, in ways he is a lot like Steve. Who also uses violence to express his anger when he feels ashamed when someone called him Mr. Jiggles.
But aside from violence from being ashamed there is violence used to get through to people. Like in the case of Suzy when Jin kisses her and says that Wei doesn't deserve her she uses anger to get through to him a literally tries to smack some sense into him. Violence is defiantly an emerging plot in the book that I think will play a big part in the ending.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that one of the main themes in ABC is shame because in all of the stories Jin, the Monkey King, and Danny are all ashamed of something in there life. Jin is ashamed of being asian and is always being teased about it at school, Monkey King is ashamed of being a monkey, and Danny is ashamed of being related to Chin-Kee. But in the end they all learn to accept who they are.

Mica
Doyle 1-2

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the main theme is shame because in the beginning Monkey King was ashamed of being a monkey after the guard embarrassed him in front of everyone there. Jin is ashamed to be Chinese because when he first goes to his school everyone is stereotyping him. Danny is ashamed of having a Chinese cousin because every year his cousin Chin-Kee comes to visit him and every year Danny feels so embarrassed that he thinks everyone at his school will remember that he has a cousin who is a weird person and then they will start to make fun of him then next year after that.

Tiffany Doyle 6-7

1:44 PM  
Anonymous William 6-7 said...

I think that that shame is a big theme because people in the school are always making fun of jin and wei-chen like calling them names and other things. I think that the shame of the being Chinese is always with them. like the time when those boys called them mean names. they were ashamed and they did not talk any more. i think that they should stay who they are and jin and wei-shen should ignore the people calling them names. danny has to go to school with chin-kee to and he is always trying to hide chin-kee because he is embarrassed.

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think one of the main themes in American Born Chinese is shame. By shame I mean being ashamed of who you are. The Monkey King is ashamed of being a monkey when he realizes that because he is a monkey and he doesn’t wear shoes he couldn’t attend the dinner party. The Monkey King fought with the guard to the party but the guard said, “Look. You may be a king- you may even be a deity- but you are still a monkey.” After that incident, the Monkey King becomes ashamed of himself and makes himself more human like, but realizes in the end to accept himself as a monkey. In Jin’s story he wants to become more American so he can fit in and his classmates will stop making fun of him. Jin changes his lunch from dumplings to a sandwich and changes his hair to resemble Greg’s because Amelia is the girl Jin likes and Jin thinks Amelia likes Greg. In Danny’s story line he is ashamed of being related to his Chinese cousin Chin- Kee who embarrasses him constantly at school. Since Danny is so embarrassed he pretends that they are not related and ignores him. Like when Chin-Kee always answers the teachers questions Danny just hides behind his hands.

Katherine
Doyle 6-7

9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think one of the main themes in American Born Chinese is shame. By shame I mean being ashamed of who you are. The Monkey King is ashamed of being a monkey when he realizes that because he is a monkey and he doesn’t wear shoes he couldn’t attend the dinner party. The Monkey King fought with the guard to the party but the guard said, “Look. You may be a king- you may even be a deity- but you are still a monkey.” After that incident, the Monkey King becomes ashamed of himself and makes himself more human like, but realizes in the end to accept himself as a monkey. In Jin’s story he wants to become more American so he can fit in and his classmates will stop making fun of him. Jin changes his lunch from dumplings to a sandwich and changes his hair to resemble Greg’s because Amelia is the girl Jin likes and Jin thinks Amelia likes Greg. In Danny’s story line he is ashamed of being related to his Chinese cousin Chin- Kee who embarrasses him constantly at school. Since Danny is so embarrassed he pretends that they are not related and ignores him.


Katherine
Doyle 6-7

9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think shame is one of the main themes. Each character goes through it in this story. When Jin moves to a new school from San Francisco, he feels like an outcast. To start it off, his teacher thought he came from China. So all the kids made fun of him and the teacher went along with it. He is different from everyone else. He looks different and acts different than everyone else. He has different personal interests. When Wei Chen arrived, it made Jin want to punch him because once, he was that weird, new kid that stuck out from everyone else. When Wei Chen pursues to be friends with him, Jin feels ashamed to have a friend that acts different, talks different, and looks different from everyone else, that guy he used to be. He also liked this “all American girl” and decided to change himself so she would like him. They end up going on a date together, but the next day, one of her best guy friends tells Jin to back off because he wants her to make good choices. That makes Jin realize that he’s going to be Chinese no matter how hard he tries to cover it up. Deep down inside, under all of his transforming, there’s Jin- the real Jin.
Danny goes also goes through shame: his visiting cousin from China that ended up forcing him to switch schools every time Chin Kee visited. Chin Kee is every horrible stereotype of an Chinese person, and embarrasses Danny in every possible way. At school, at home, in front of the girl he likes. Danny just wants this all to end. He is sick of everyone calling him “Chin Kee’s cousin,” which doesn’t make him feel any better. Danny is ashamed to be related to Chinese people, especially Chin Kee.
Monkey King, even though he is a king, is still a monkey, according to some people. But Monkey King won’t accept that. He is used to ruling fellow monkeys and telling them what to do that he forgets about all the other rankings in society. He doesn’t get invited to dinner parties because he wasn’t wearing shoes and he was a monkey. The next day, he worked so hard to reach his goal- master the 12 disciplines of life. And so he did. Surely, everyone would honor him and praise him. Nope. He tried so hard to change himself, and ended up under a pile of rocks for forty years. He really reminds me of Jin, because he was willing to change himself you people would like him, like Monkey King. But they are both still who they were meant to be, and can’t change it. A monkey is still a monkey. Jin is still Jin, and that brings in shame.
Delnaz Doyle 6/7

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think one of the main themes in this story is who the character really is. All of the plot lines, the characters deal with not being to face who they really are. In the monkey king, he does not want to be a monkey, so he works so hard to be human because all of the other gods are bigger than him. Chinkee is in Danny's life, and has shown up since 8th grade, and every year Danny has to move schools because he can't deal with Chinkee being in his life. Jin changes his hair to look like Greg because he knows Amelia likes Greg.
In all of the plot lines, the characters try to change who they really are.

Clyde Doyle 6/7

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In all three themes, the main character is trying to be someone that they aren't. Jin is trying to be american because he is in love with Amelia, who he thinks will like him if he is american. The Monkey King is trying to be human, because he is ashamed of being a monkey, and thinks that if he appears to be human, no one will ever know or care that he was a monkey. And Danny is trying to fit in by moving schools every year, because his cousin Chin-Kee is embarrassing him. All of these characters want to be someone they're not, but they don't understand that it is better to be who you are and accept it, rather than to try to change your soul. They all just want to fit in.

-Alex Doyle 6/7

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the themes that ties through the whole story is shame.

The Monkey King feels shame about being a monkey. He feels ashamed when he goes to the dinner party and they don’t let him in because he is a monkey. Shame can make people, (or monkeys) in this case, do things that can hurt themselves and other people. He is taking out his anger from being ashamed on other people. He was discriminated against he is so ashamed that he wants to change who he is. Before he went to the dinner party he was happy being a monkey. Then after the party the Monkey King gets very mad and wants to wear shoes and get rid of the smell of monkey fur in his cave.

Jin is ashamed of being Chinese especially because he is one of the few in his school. One of the other asians, Wei Chen wanted to be his friend. But because Jin was ashamed of being Chinese, he did not want to be associated with Wei Chen. Jin is willing to change who he really is to be an American. He wants this especially because of Amelia. Jin has a crush on Amelia an “American girl”. He thinks that if he is American she will like him better.

Chin-kee on the other hand does not seem ashamed of being Chinese. But Danny sure is ashamed of having Chin-kee around. Danny is ashamed of Chin-kee always doing “weird” things like peeing in someone’s Coke or eating “crispy fried cat gizzards with noodles”.

Shame plays throughout all these characters lives and is a big factor in who they are as a person. Shame can make people feel horrible and can make them do bad things. Shame can control who you want to be, even when you are not that.

-Lucy Doyle 6-7

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think one main theme in ABC is trying to fit in and be cool. Danny, Jin, and the monkey king all try to do this by changing their appearance.The monkey king comes out of his chamber taller and larger(pg59-60). The monkey king was told at the dinner party that he is a monkey and he can't change that. I think it was just an excuse when the guard told him he had to have shoes on. Jin changes his hairstyle to look like Greg(pg98). Jin also tries to win over Amelia by simply changing his hairstyle to look cool. Jin also changes his appearance again by transforming into a cool jock like person(pg194-198). He names his new face Danny. Jin essentially becomes a transformer like the toy transformer he had when he was a kid. The characters in the book try to mask their true identity by trying to fit in with everyone else.
-Kyle Doyle 6-7

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the themes is definitely shame, shame of identity-- unfortunately, identity is one of those things you have no say in. Your identity starts before you're born. Some would say that your identity begins when your parents meet for the first time, or when your grandparnts meets for the first time. If you wanted to be really deep, you could say that identity began when the human race first evolved, or within the first nanosecond of the universe. But anyway.

No matter how hard Jin tries, he can't be Danny, even though he's blond and all that. No matter what, Chinkee's just going to keep coming back and haunting him, admittedly in physical form rather than mental. And it's the same case with Monkey King. He can become taller, and bigger, and more skilled. He can step on and outlive a billion people, but he was still born a monkey.

Emi
Doyle Period 1/2

2:08 PM  
Blogger Eliana :D said...

I think one of the main themes of this book is being ashamed of who you are. The Monkey King is ashamed of being a monkey and tries to be this massive human form. Jin is ashamed of being Chinese, so he tries to act American by eating sandwiches, acting like he doesn't care and even has a crush on an American girl. To get Amelia to like him, he decides to get a perm that Americans wear. This is a huge part of him being ashamed in his culture. Danny is ashamed of where part of his family comes from. Chin-kee is embarrassing him, by eating "crispy fried cat gizzards with noodles", dancing and singing on a table at the library and just saying things that a stereotyped Chinese person would say. For Danny, the way he tries to deal with it is changing schools every year, so that nobody thinks the next year "oh look, its that Chin-kee kid's cousin!" WARNING-About to give away the end. However, the Monkey King accepts that he's a monkey, and lives with it. Jin turns into Danny. This is his way of trying to escape. But in the end, Chin-kee comes to visit him every year. I think this is because a part of his Asian culture is still with him everywhere he goes. Kind of like what Isabella said, that it's his conscience of his culture, following him wherever he goes. What I think this story is trying to teach you, is that no matter how much you like or dislike your culture, it will always be with you. So accept yourself and everyone around you for who they are and not who they try to be.
- Eliana (Doyle 1/2)

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think one of the main themes of the three plots of ABC is shame. At first The Monkey King was ashamed of being a monkey, because he was not let into a party. The monkey king eventually get over his shame, and goes back to his original form, of a monkey. The way that Danny's cousin Chin-kee has been showing up every year has been a difficult thing for Danny because he is a part of the shame that he has.

-Marcellus / Doyle 6-7

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think one of the main themes of the three plots is awkwardness. Because none of the characters seem to fit in. Fitting in seem to be what the goal of everyone is even Chin-Kee. Chin-Kee just thinks that he is already fit in. and when Jin feels accepted and when Greg tells him to stay away from Amelia he feel rejected and shameful. Soon after his shame and sadness turn into anger and he lets that out on Wei-Chen.
Hyder Doyle 6/7

6:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the biggest theme in this book is fitting in. For example the monkey king is trying to fit in with the gods (in the first chapter). Jin is trying to fit in with the popular kids, by being more American and denying that he's chinese. Danny is trying to fit in despite Chin-Kee. They all feel like they need to change for other people, like Jin's "Broccolli" hair. He changes because Greg is like that, and if Greg is an all-American boy then what he does must be right. Danny is trying to seperate himself from Chin-Kee, because Chin-Kee always embarrasses him and ruins his reputation. He would be willing to sacrifice his relationship with Chin-kee for popularity. The monkey king feels like being a monkey isn't enough, so he masters twelve heavenly disciplines and becomes like a human so he could join the gods. None of them realize that you are who you are, and can't change your self for anyone else.

Jonathan Doyle 1-2

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think a theme of A.B.C is fitting in. Every main character in the book, Jin, the Monkey King, and Danny, wants to fit in at school, and they do this by changing who they are. They're all ashamed of who they are so they change to fit in.
Like on page 97, Jin thinks that Amelia likes Greg so he's thinking about what she likes about him. Then he thinks about his hair. Then, on page 98, he changes his hair to look like Greg's.
The Monkey King also tries to fit in. On page 15 the Monkey King is thrown out of a dinner party because he's a monkey. So on page 58, after training in kung-fu for 80 days, he changed his form to look more humanoid. He completely changed who he was so he would be accepted as a god.
Danny is an all american guy but he he has a dark secret. He has an annoying Chinese cousin. And every year Chin-Kee visits, Danny is teased so much he has to change schools. So, in order to fit in, he has to disown his cousin. He talks about Chin-Kee like he barely knows him. Like on page 123 Melanie tells him she just wants to be friends Danny tells her he's nothing like Chin-Kee. He says he doesn't even know how they're related.
-Nigel Doyle 6/7

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that one of the themes in the three stories is definitely shame. All the characters are ashamed of there identity, but none so much as Jin. Jin is ashamed of his ethnicity, so much so that he transforms himself into Danny. Jin's ashamed that he's not American and that he's different. Society has definitely made Jin ashamed of his heritage, until he came to Mayflower Elementary, he never felt ashamed. Jin was not ashamed of being Chinese when he lived in Chinatown in San Francisco. Here in Mayflower Elementary he's being called bucktooth by someone who actually has buck teeth, he's being stereotyped, like when he was accused of eating dogs, and it started to get to him. This is another theme of the book: racism/speciesism. The Monkey King is being treated differently because of his species when he tries to get into the part of the gods. Danny is treated differently by Melanie and told that his teeth "buck out" because Melanie finds out about Chin-Kee. Racism and shame are two main themes, where the shame was caused by racism. As the story goes on, the Monkey King turns back into regular form, and accepts himself. Until the end, Jin doesn't accept himself, and goes around masquerading that he's Danny. In the end however Jin turns back to his original form, by the magic of the Monkey King. In the end everybody learns to accept themselves. Even the Monkey King is happy being Tze-Yo-Tzuh's emissary.
Akhil
Doyle period 1-2

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think one of the main themes in ABC is shame. In all of the different storylines in ABC the characters are all faced with moments in which they are really ashamed about themselves or other people with them. With the Monkey King, he is ashamed about being a monkey, and uses his powers to grow really big and agressive looking, and when the old man gets him from the mountian he conquers his shame and returns to his origional form. With Jin and Wei-Chen, they are ashamed about the fact that they are asian, and are embarrased that all of the american kids were laughing at them. And with Danny he is ashamed about his cousin Chin-kee and how different he is than all of the "normal" american kids. All of the storylines in ABC have characters that are ashamed about what they are or how there related to somebody.

Charlie Doyle 6/7

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the themes is embarrassment. In all of the stories they are embarrassed. Monkey king is embarrassed when he cant go to the party, Dannie is embarrassed of chin-kee, when he comes every year and Jin is embarrassed of being chinese so in the story embarrassment is a key part in the story.

-Jameel Alausa Doyle 1/2

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In American Born Chinese, one of the key themes is identity.
In Danny's story, identity plays a big role. Chin-Kee's identity consists of all the negative steryotypes about Asian people. He has buckteeth, pronounces his Rs as Ls and visa versa, has a long braid, very yellow skin, dresses "traditionally", etc. This is his identity. Danny, though, doesn't want Chin-Kee's identity to become HIS identity. He says to Steve, "Every year since eighth grade, Chin-Kee shows up. He talks his stupid talk and eats his stupid food, embarassing the CRAP out of me. By the time he leaves, I'm no longer "Danny." I'm "Chin-Kee's cousin." Danny wants his identity to be an athletic, cute, all-American guy with an all-American girlfriend. But you can see Chin-Kee's identity rubbing off on Danny when Melanie says, "You know, I never noticed it before, but your teeth buck out a little." Danny's teeth DON'T buck out at all.
Identity closely connects with shame in American Born Chinese. At the beginning of the book, a guy with buckteeth himself calls Jin "bucktooth". And later, Greg says to Amelia, referring to Jin, "See what I mean? He's a nice guy, but he's kind of a geek. I mean, what's with the hair?" "The hair," though, is his own hairstyle.
The Monkey King has some identity issues, too. He's declined entrance to the dinner party because he's not wearing any shoes. Then, he tries to list off all of his many acheivements, and the guard says, "You may be a king. You may even be a DEITY--but you are still a monkey." So the monkey king, bitter, does everything he can to rid himself of his "lil' monkey" identity. He masters the 12 disciplines of kung fu. He creates a law that "all monkeys must wear shoes", which makes it much harder for them to climb trees and be nimble: one of the things that makes a monkey a monkey. His figure changes to a menacing, much-taller version of himself with a stern face and a beard. It's almost as if he's trying to look more human.
"You know," the monkey king says to Jin on page 223, "I would have saved myself from five hundred years' inprisonment beneath a mountain of rock had I realized how good it is to be a monkey."
Another key element that relates to identity is the "transformer". At the beginning of the book, on page 28, Jin says to an old, Chinese lady, the Herbalists wife, that he wants to be a transformer when he grows up. She says, "It's easy to become anything you wish...as long as you're willing to forfeit your soul." Later, Wei-Chen says that his father gave him a transformer toy as a going-away present. The monkey king explains later that it was to remind him of who he is.
Jin's identity is complex, too. Well, maybe not complex. He's sort of an outcast, because he's different: he's Asian. This identity makes it harder for him to have an all-American girlfriend, Amelia. He gets a perm, eats a typical-looking sandwich for lunch, and wears typical clothes rather than what Chin-Kee or even Wei-Chen's wearing. And he avoids associating with Suzy Nakamura and Wei-Chen at the beginning of the book, trying to prevent what's happened to Danny from happening to him.
-Liza, Doyle Period 6-7.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the main theme of the three plots in american Born Chinese is shame. In all three plots someone is ashamed of who they are and were they come form or who they are related to.In Chin-kees section danny is embarresed and ashamed that chin-kee is his cousin. In the Monkey King section Monkey King is ashamed of being a monkey so he pretends to be something he's not it's like he has a "disguise" And i think jin has a "disguise" as well because he is be like greg in order for Amelia to like him.

-Ariel Doyle 6-7

12:12 PM  
Blogger Benjiwitt9 said...

I think shame is the main theme. Jin goes through shame when he moves to a school in the white suburbs from San Francisco where it is more diverse. The first moment in his new school he is already disrespected. On page 30, panel 1 the teacher says, “Class I’d like us all to give a warm mayflower elementary welcome to your new friend and classmate Jing Jang!” Then Jin says, “ Jin Wang” Then the teacher says on panel 2, “He and his family recently move to our neighborhood all the way from CHINA!” Jin says, “San Francisco.” So I think the teacher couldn’t really care less and is just saying ‘a warm mayflower elementary welcome’ because she has to otherwise she will probably get fired. All the kids make fun of Jin and one kid says don’t eat my dog. Then when Wei-Chen comes Jin wants to punch Wei-Chen in the face because he is a new and he is Chinese so he gives the bullies ammunition to make fun of Chinese people. Jin is ashamed to be Wei-Chen’s friend because Wei-Chen is exactly what Jin used to be: he looks different and talks different. He is also ashamed to be Chinese because he thinks Amelia will not like him if he is Chinese. They go out on a date and the next day Greg who is one of Amelia’s best friends tells Jin to leave Amelia alone. I think he said that because Jin is Chinese and he doesn’t want Amelia to go out someone Chinese. Jin feels ashamed of being Chinese and turns himself into Danny in the middle of the night. Danny’s shame is that he is related to Chin Kee who is the perfect Chinese stereotype. Chin Kee makes Danny switch schools every year he visits because he embarrasses Danny. Because after Chin Kee leaves everyone thinks of Danny as Chin Kee’s cousin. Chin Kee embarrasses Danny everywhere. Even in front of the girl Danny likes where Chin Kee says, “Such pletty amellican girl wiff bountiful amellican bosom! Must bind feet and bear Chin Kee’s children.” Danny is ashamed of being related to anyone Chinese, especially Chin Kee. The monkey king loves dinner parties. He smells one, one evening and goes there. When it is his turn the guard will not let him in because he is not wearing shoes and because he is a monkey. After this the Monkey king does not want to be a monkey anymore so he makes a law over his land that all monkey’s must wear shoes. He also uses kung-fu to change himself from a monkey to a monkey with a human bone structure. He also shows he is ashamed of being a monkey by not waving back to his fellow monkeys (page 61). The Monkey King is ashamed of being a monkey BUT I think he gets over his shame at the end by accepting his true form (a monkey).

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In American Born Chinese, one of three big themes is shame. The shame occurs between the characters in the story. In the chapters with the monkey king, the monkey king feels shame when he is kicked out from a dinner party that include the gods, goddesses, demons and spirits. When the monkey king is in line waiting to enter the dinner party, he thinks that something will go wrong. When the monkey king gets to the front of the line, the guard tells him, "*Ahem* Pardon me sir, but might you step this way for a moment?" The monkey king replies, "Oh, I'm sorry-" The guard says, "Yes, Yes. I apologize profusely sir, but I cannot let you in-" and the monkey king says, "You may announce that I am the monkey king of Flower-Fruit Mountain". The monkey king also feels shame when the guard tells him that he is not wearing shoes. Everybody in the dinner party started teasing him and he got mad and started beating them up.
Danny feels shame when Chin-kee goes to school with him. Danny feels shame by what Chin-kee eats, how he answers questions in class, and how he speaks in his weird accent. When Chin-kee and Danny were at school, Chin-kee asks Danny, "Would cousin Da-nee rike to tly Chin-kee's clispy flied cat gizzards wiff noodle?". Lots of people see Chin-kee's food and I assume they would think to themselves, "What kind of cousin does Danny have?"
Chinke also has a really bad accent. If Chin-kee wanted to say, "Why does cousin Danny bring Chin-kee to school so late? The other students are already in class!", he would say, "Why cousin Da-nee bling Chin-kee to school so rate? Other student arleady in crass." That really embarrasses Danny also. Also in class, Chin-kee embarrasses Danny by raising his hand to answer a question. For example, the Spanish teacher asks, "En esta historia, el perro de Jose es,-?" Chin-kee replies, "Branco y muy glande!"
In the chapters with Jin, Jin feels embarrassed to ask Amelia Harris to hang out with him. But he finally does because a "Jolt of confidence" comes to him. He was really confident and he asked Amelia Harris, "Hang out... with me... sometime?" And she replies, "Yes." After all, Jin felt better but he did not feel non-embarrassed 100%.

-Christos Doyle 1-2

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that Shame is a strong theme for American Born Chinese. In each of the story lines a character appears to be faced with shame of a circumstance beyond their control.
For example in the monkey king story line the monkey king is faced with a shame of his species (something he cannot control). The Shame begins on page fifteen when the guard to the dinner party declines him entrance to the dinner party by saying “you may be a king- you may even be a deity- but you are still a monkey”. Up until now the monkey appears to be happy with his identity but now feels ashamed that he is a monkey. He tries to wipe away his identity by making all his subjects (monkeys) wear shoes. He does this because he believes that not wearing shoes (“you haven’t any shoes”) is a clear sign of inferiority.
In Jin’s Story line Jin is ashamed of his heritage. At first he seems to not be ashamed to be Chinese. He lives in San Francisco’s Chinatown and he has several Asian friends. But when his family moves to a stereotypical suburb, where Jin’s only friend is a bully and he is constantly teased, Jin begins to be annoyed because he is Chinese. He tries to appear to not be Chinese by trying not to be friend with Wei-Chen. He does so on pg.38 by saying “I have enough friends”. Jin seems to believe that by being mean to Wei-Chen people would no longer think of him as Chinese.
However in Chin-Kee’s Story it is not Chin-Kee but his cousin Danny who is faced with shame. Danny’s shame is similar to the shame faced by Jin. Danny’s shame is the shame of family. Every year Chin-Kee visits Danny and embarrasses him so much that Danny is no longer accepted by his peers and is forced to change schools in hope that this time it will be different. On pages 113-121 you see many people giving Danny weird looks. Each time this happens Danny tries to disappear in hopes that no one will notice him and that he will still be accepted.
This is why I think that shame is a very important theme in American Born Chinese.

Hazel
Period 6-7

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The theme is the want to change their identity. This theme is shown in the three characters. For the Monkey King, you see he wants to join the gods and be a deity on page 10 panel 2. The page says, “ He spent his days studying the arts of kung-fu. He quickly mastered thousands of minor disciplines as well as the far major heavenly disciplines, prerequisites to immortality.” The Monkey King is wanting in that quote to be immortal or a god. For Jin, he wants to be a transformer or an American cause he has an American girlfriend. On page 27 panel 4 “ < …Well…> <…I…I want to be a >transformer!” Also for Dannie, he does not like having being related to Chinkee. On page 114, at the lunch when Chinkee is eating Crispy fried cat gizzards with noodles.

-Eleanor Doyle 6/7

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A common theme of the three story lines is identity. The Monkey King identified himself as one of the gods but he was embarrassed at the party because he did not wear shoes. Jin got himself a perm trying to identify himself as Greg because he thought Amelia would then liked his look. Danny could not identify with Chin-Kee even they were cousins. He was ashamed of Chin-Kee's stereotype behavior such as the accent and the ethnic food. In the three story lines, identities of main characters are at the center. They all eventually accept their own with many struggles.

Becky Doyle 1/2

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think one of the main themes of ABC is shame. The monkey is ashamed that he is a monkey because he can not do things other normal gods ands goddesses can do like attend dinner parties. On page 15 he is rejected from the party because he does not wear shoe, he is embarrassed and decrees all monkeys to wear shoes. Jin is embarrassed that he is Asian. On page 96 Suzy, Wei-Chen, and Jin are subject to racism and ashamed that they are Asian. Jin tries to be American by changing his to look like broccoli because a typical American kid at that school named Greg wears the same style of hair. Danny is ashamed of his cousin Chin-Kee, who keeps embarrassing him in school with his Asian stereotypes. Danny pretends not to be his cousin by hiding behind his hands when Chin-kee raises his hand and generally avoiding being near him whenever he has the chance.


Andrew Doyle 6/7

6:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In ABC the monkey king is my favorite part of the story. He is interesting because of how he handles the world. He thinks that he is better than gods just because he is a monkey. When he agrees to help the guy on his voyage is agreeing to become even more of a monkey. I think that he accepts that he is a monkey even though he is kind of a leveled up monkey. I think that Jin is a good kid. He wishes that he could be american like most of the other kids. He still has one or two friends but since he wants to date that American girl that makes him want to be american even more because the kid with the curly blonde hair doesn't think that he is right for her. Chin-Kee is kind of a jerk to Danny. He is really like a FOB and doesn't know or care what he's doing at all. He doesn't understand life. He needs to be blasted into reality. I think the theme of this story is someone that doesn't fit into their place or doesn't like the place that they're in.

Christopher 6/7 (sorry I'm late)

7:20 PM  

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