Global Issues, HL Lang & Lit

In the book “American Born Chinese” by Gene Luen Yang, our main protagonist Jin Wang faces an identify crisis. This can be largely related to the cultural aspect of the global issues that certain individuals face in their life.

Jin Wang is a Chinese “Fresh of the boat” (FOB) Chinese American student that has inner conflict between his Chinese heritage and the American life that he sustains. In the opening scene, Jin faces cultural discrimination coming from his own classmates, prevalently white American boys in his class. When Weichen first greets Jin, Jin retorts with a “You’re in America. Speak English”. Not only does Jin want integrate himself into American standards, he shuts down any conversation that may be spoken in Chinese. By doing this, Jin effectively distances himself from his own culture, and doesn’t mind openly telling others of the same Asian cultural heritage to abandon it as well.

Even by the end of the book, we get 4 panels of dialogue between Jin and Wei Chen. Here, we can see that although while Wei Chen speaks in a translated Chinese to english (can be seen with the < >), whereas Jin speaks in plain American English. These characters contrast each other, while Jin does accept the fact that he’s Chinese and that he can’t change it, he maintains a conversation with Wei-Chen in English. On the opposite end, Wei-Chen sticks to speaking Mandarin, but is still able to fully understand Jin’s english speaking.

In the early years of his life, Jin struggles to find equilibrium between his Inherited Chinese culture and the American life that he lives. But by the end of the novel, He is able to balance this carefully. Though he acknowledges the fact that his cultural identity and lineage may never change, he accepts Western culture into his own life as well.