Cultural Stereotypes And Transformation In The Monkey King

704 Words2 Pages

Transformation is necessary to adapt to any situation. The main characters in American Born Chinese transform their identities in order to deal with and fit into the society they live in. Jin Wang desperately wants to transform from Chinese background to an American. The Monkey King wishes to transform from “just a monkey” to a God. Danny transforms in order to deal with cultural criticism. These characters use these transformations in order to deal with the life they live in and understand who they are.

Jin Wang, the main character in American Born Chinese transforms in order to deal with stereotypes and prejudice. After moving from Chinatown San Francisco to a new school, Jin realizes he is the only Asian other than Suzy Nakamura (31). Jin immediately faces racial stereotypes and slurs, such as “Chinese people eat dogs”, and arranged marriages (31). Even the teachers have preconceived ideas about Jin’s heritage. His third grade teacher Mrs. Greeder has little understanding of the pronunciation of Jin’s name and from where he moved, thinking he came “all the way from China” (30). In order to integrate in his new environment, he assimilates himself into American culture, transformed into a “regular” American. After stereotyped for eating dog, Jin is seen eating without chopsticks, part of his Asian tradition, and begins to eat “normal” American cuisine, such as sandwiches (37). When Wei Chen arrives, Jin tells him “(he’s) in America” and to “speak English” (37). Even though Jin is fully capable of communicating with Wei-Chen, he decides to abandon his previous culture. Jin chooses to fully transform into an American. He tries to completely dispose of his Asian identity and develop a new one. In order to do this he develops the n...

... middle of paper ...

...s more and more irritated by Chin-Kee. It comes to a point where he has a fight with Chin-Kee (207). At the end of the fight, Danny manages to knock off Chin-Kee's mask, which reveals his true identity as the Monkey King (212). Danny is transformed back to Jin Wang. Jin realizes he should be happy with whom he really is and that transformations are not necessary. Through these back and forth transformations, Jin finally is at peace with his true identity and who he should continue to be.
Transformation is used to deal with the predetermined ideas that their societies have. Jin Wang faces stereotypes that make it hard for him to function in his new neighbourhood. The Monkey King desires to match the others that originally humiliated him. Danny has trouble being tolerated by peers who at first enjoyed his presence. All must transform to handle an unwelcoming society.

Open Document