A Change for the Worse By Margaux

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American Born Chinese, page 60

In the book American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang, all three characters, The Monkey King, Jin, and Danny changed. All three of these characters wanted to be something other than what they really were. Through these characters, Gene Luen Yang warns readers that changing is good, but not always. When Jin changed, he was no longer himself. He tried to be more like the people around him. He had moved from Chinatown in San Francisco to a primarily white suburb. He did not like being an outcast, and he wanted to fit in. For instance, he changed his hair and got a perm to make it look more like the hair of the other kids. He tried so hard to change that he ended up changing into Danny. Danny was just a different version of Jin. Danny was everything that Jin wanted to be to fit in. It is possible to change but still be yourself, but that means you can’t change for anyone else. If change is natural and you are not changing for someone or something,  you will always be yourself. If you are changing for someone or something, then you will no longer be yourself because you are trying to be what someone else wants and not what you are. For example, the monkey king changed himself to be considered a god and so he could go to parties with the other gods. He started wearing shoes and acting entitled. He became angrier, meaner, and disrespectful because he wanted to be a god. He was even mean to the monkeys who worshiped him. This was not what he was like at the beginning. Changing is good when it is natural, but when it is forced, nothing pleasant can come of it.

Would You Give Up Your Soul? by Lexi

Gene Luen Yang tells the reader in his book American Born Chinese that it is wrong to change who you are to fit in and be acceptable. The Herbalist’s wife says “ It’s easy to become anything you wish, so long as you’re willing to forfeit your soul,” page 29. This she means that you can do anything you want to do, so long as you’re willing to give up the things and people you love the most. Your soul is made up of all of your family, friends, important traditions, and your background culture. They are what make you who you are. It would be wrong to give up a part of your self to become something you’re not, just to impress others. For example, at the beginning of the book we see Jin eating dumplings, but soon changes to eating sandwiches.  A person might give their soul up to do something that nobody else is okay with, or they might do it to make everybody happy. Another example being when the Monkey King changes himself to prove to the Gods he is worthy of their party. Jin loses his soul, his best friend Wei Chin when he transforms into Danny on page 198, but at the end of the book, the Monkey Kings brings his soul back by telling him where to find Wei Chen, on page 224.   

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American Born Chinese, Page 32

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American Born Chinese, page 37

Hidden Legend By: Connor

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American Born Chinese, page 215

The book American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang is three different stories where three different characters that want the same thing, to fit in. In one story, with a monk, it shows that to become legendary all you need to do is to commit acts of kindness. You don’t even need to be known by everyone to become legendary. The biggest factor to become legendary is to be not mean. One example of someone who is legendary in this book is Wong Lai-Tsao he is legendary because he helps homeless people, and other monks don’t usually do that. Even though on page 135 it shows that Wong Lai-Tsao could not meditate, fast, or even preach. Though because he helped homeless people every day, the gods chose him to partake in a very large journey, The Journey to The West. The Monkey King, who started out small and unknown, went on The Journey to The West with Wong Lai-Tsao and became all-knowing and stood in holy presence this was all possible with the help of the legendary Wong Lai-Tsao. Therefore, you can become legendary without doing an amazing act like becoming stone by staying still, and staring death in the face. So, in conclusion, anyone can become legendary. Gene Luen Yang is showing us that all you need to be to become legendary is to serve others by being nice to them and putting their needs in front of yours.

Value Yourself or no one will By:Nick

The book American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang is a book that shows readers the value of staying true to yourself. In American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, the author uses three different stories to convey the theme of trying to be noticed by others and wanting to be great. In one of the stories there is a boy named Jin that tries to forget his Chinese heritage when he moves to a mostly all white suburb. He starts off with being mean to the only other Asian boy Wei-Chen. Jin ends up changing his hair to fit in with the popular white kids, forgetting about wei-chen his only friend. Throughout the whole story Jin tries so hard to change who he is to fit in, that he betrays his friendship with Wei-Chen. This mistake causes Jin to realize what he has done, and what he must do to become himself again. In another one of the stories there is a monkey king that wants to be legendary, he doesn’t want to be a monkey anymore. So he gives up everything for nearly invincible kung-Fu powers to prove a point to the gods. He does all that just to get trapped under a mountain of stone for 500 years. While he is trapped the creator send a monk to illuminate the monkey kings mistake and try to bring him back to reality. The Monkey King is then forced with making a decision to forfeit his powers and return to his true self to save the monk, or stay trapped and let the monk die. The Monkey king decides to forfeit his powers and return to his true self, and save the monk. The monkey later realizes how much he loved being a monkey. Like Jin, the monkey king tries to be someone he is not and makes a mistake that lets him see what he has done, and how he can change it. Last is Wei-Chen was Jin’s friend, or so he thought. He lied for his friendship, and then when he was betrayed by Jin, he realizes that friendship is not worth it. He then forfeits his life because he doesn’t want to serve humans. Wei later realizes what he has done and slowly starts to come back to reflect on what he has done. All three of these characters forget the importance of valuing who they are.

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American Born Chinese, page 84

A Change is More Than Just the Appearance by Same

The Author, Gene Luen Yang, wasted no time teaching readers the most important lesson in the book American Born Chinese. The main character, Jin Wang, is Chinese American boy who moved from Chinatown San Francisco to a white suburb. On page 29 while the main character Jin’s mom is at the herbalist, the herbalist’s wife tells Jin “it’s easy to become anything as long as you forfeit your soul.”This quote is very imperative to the book and what it stands for. The quote means that you have to be willing to make a sacrifice to be what you want to be. An example is when Jin forfeits his soul to be more American. It starts of really small and then gets bigger. The first of his changes is when his lunch changes from dumplings to sandwiches. But then the change starts to get bigger and bigger. For example, when he kisses Suzy Nakamura he is betraying his best friend Wei Chen by kissing Suzy who is Wei’s girlfriend. Then his hair and his skin color change completely. He changes so much that as the book goes on the reader can tell he has lost his soul through all of his transformations. It would change who I am because I would have to cope with the fact that I didn’t have what I had anymore, but I would blend into what I get. I think a person would give up a chance of a new life or good health for their soul. I think that good health and a happy family would be worth forfeiting a soul. It might mean something that will come up later in the story as a reflection or something like that. The lesson that Gene Luen Yang teaches us is that changing yourself is very powerful and it might mean you forget who you are and what you are. This quote goes a long way for characters like Jin and the monkey king throughout the whole book and in my mind it is the cornerstone lesson of the book.

 

 

 

Forfeiting Your Soul By:Kobe

You can be anything you want to be as long as you are willing to give up something you love. In Gene Luen Yang’s novel American born Chinese the Herbalist wife says “It’s easy to become anything you wish so long as you’re willing to forfeit your soul.”(Yang 29).That is true because once Jim Wang changed his hair he got the confidence to ask out Amelia. Then after he was done with Amelia he lost his hair and became normal again so it is possible to change and then change back to the way you were before changing. Another example this time not the best choice by Jin Wang is when he wanted to lose his chinese culture. So Jin Wang stopped being friends with Wei Chen because he thought it depicted to much of himself which turned out bad because he lost his only true friend in school. In conclusion, it is possible to change from one person to another in order to get the thing the want in this case Amelia.

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American Born Chinese, pages 29 and 194 

Accepting Your Flaws by Liv

 

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American Born Chinese, page 223

The message of not looking for outside sources of validation is a theme in Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel American Born Chinese. The book follows three separate protagonists, Monkey King, Jin, and Danny, each struggle with their identity. One way Gene Luen Yang shows that acceptance in not gained through the validation of others, but instead through your strengths is in the Monkey King’s story. He is not pleased with just being a monkey and tries to prove himself as a god, which leads to him being stuck under rocks for 500 years. The Monkey King breaks out of the rocks on page 149, when Wong-Lai-Tsao, a monk sent on a journey to help others, asks if being a prisoner of rock is his destiny. Here, Monkey understands that his purpose is much more important than feeling sorry for himself for not being a monkey. The rocks symbolize everything that holds the Monkey King down, and when he breaks free, he accepts them, which leads him to go on and help others. The Monkey King also realizes that he is still a king, and that’s a strength that helps him aide others. Another example of having to recognize your identity in order to find true friendship is through Jin’s story. Jin is a boy who is ashamed of his Chinese heritage and tries to get rid of it by becoming a fully American boy. He tries to get rid of his rocks, his heritage, by perming his hair to look like the popular white boy, Greg. In the end, these changes end up doing more harm to Jin than good. Through a series of odd events, the Monkey King finally meets Jin and tells him how he had to wait 500 years under rocks instead of admitting that he was a monkey. It is this moment that Jin understands that he needs to break free of the fear of his heritage, so he can live his life and fulfill his purpose. Jin and the Monkey King become better people, with the Monkey King going on to help the world and Jin offering aid to Wei-Chen when they understand what is keeping them away from their goal. They see their rocks, their doubts, their fears, and don’t let them control their life. They choose what defines them, not letting what holds them back define them. They accept who they are, a king and a bicultural boy, and chose to take advantage of them in order to help others.