A Detailed Account of Typical American by Gish Jen's Life Essay

A Detailed Account of Typical American by Gish Jen's Life Essay

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Typical American by Gish Jen
The book Typical American by Gish Jen is a detailed account of a one, Ralph Chang’s life before he comes to America to chase his dream and after his arrival, the friends he makes and his struggles and achievements. Ralph and Grover are two main characters in the book and they are seen to have many differences but they have one main and major similarity which is their greed for money and their selfless desire to achieve the American dream. Ralph was a person who believed in hard work and always doing the right thing before he meets with Grover. Grover has a huge influence on Ralph’s life “He was a man with a mission; what mattered was that he registers for the right courses, that he attend the right classes, that he buy the right books” (17). The author manages to depict the inclinations the American dream imposes on all individuals regardless of their initial belief systems as exemplified by the two main characters Ralph and Grover.
From the book, the reader is able to see the difference in beliefs and practices between two major characters, Ralph and Grover. For instance Ralph believes in studying then getting employed so as to earn a living”. On the way to America, Yifeng studied” (26). Grover on the other hand is business minded and thinks of ways to make money quickly through business projects. A good example where this is seen is where Grover convinces Ralph to leave school so that they can open a hotel business that they would name ‘Chicken Palace’ with an aim of generating a substantial amount of income. Despite Grover’s optimism, the project fails miserably and Ralph considers going back to his studies. Sure enough, joins school once more, where he pursues and completes his Doctorate and gets...


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...acters compared above. The book is successful in the narration of the life stories of the three young Chinese immigrants that live in America seeking education to mature their careers and build their lives. The author is also clear in explaining how after the Second World War, during the post war period of economic hardships, how this young man Ralph makes his way to America, a land where his sister went to, to seek his destiny. The book outlines how he met Grover and how this young man greatly influences his life, decisions and way of thinking. We also understand from the book that Ralph gets married and begets two children. We are told of his married life and how he struggles to please five people who have the most influence over his life or we can say control his life. The people are his parents, his wife, his children, his friend and his sister let alone himself.

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