Being Legendary Through Helping Others by Agha

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American Born Chinese written by Gene Luen Yang, is about characters finding their true identity. This book uses three different parallel times in order to explain the story. Ultimately, all the three stories combined into one at the end of the book. Wong-Lai Tsao, a monk in American Born Chinese, receives “legendary” status. Through this character, Gene Luen Yang, tells readers that in order to receive “legendary” status you must have a heart to give to others. On page 135, Gene Yang shows that Wong-Lai Tsao could not meditate for more that twenty days, he couldn’t fast for more than half a day, and when he preached he did not make sense, but Wong-Lai Tsao is still very remarkable. What makes him remarkable is that he gathered fruit in a nearby orchard just to share it with the vagrants who lived outside of town. This really helped the people because they were always very hungry. He also fixed and changed people’s wounds which is a very kind thing for him to do. Wong-Lai Tsao really could not do anything that other monks could do, but what made him remarkable is the he helped others which is something different then other monks did. Wong-Lai Tsao was chosen by Tze-Yo-Tzuh in to go on a quest to help others. Wong-Lai Tsao helped the Monkey King find his true self. The author introduces the Monkey King as a self-proclaimed sage, but he is not. After, Wong-Lai Tsao helps the Monkey King find his true self, the Monkey King becomes enlightened and also become a true sage. All in all, you must have the heart to give to others in order to receive “legendary” status.

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American Born Chinese, page 135

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

American Born Chinese Six Word Character Memoir

Your appearance does not define you. By Liv

I must accept who I am. By Agha

I’m from San Francisco, not China. By Sam

NO! You are wrong about me! By Connor

Don’t define me solely on my heritage. By Kirsten

I am truly the monkey king. By Harry

I am secretly the monkey king. By Chris

I will never escape my culture. By Abbie

A perm will make me American. –By Margaux

I’m like others but different.-By Kobe

I am ready to help others. By Lexi

Disapprove what I became, not myself. By Ian

Practice is the key to success. By Abbey

I must accept who I am. By Nick