The Paper Menagerie

In Ken Liu’s short story “The Paper Menagerie”, Jack, the main character, develops his understanding of his identity through the author’s use of character interactions, [Symbols], and [POV].

The author’s use of character interactions assists in the development of Jack’s understanding of his identity. One of the key identifiers is how Jack’s personal thoughts or narration was affected by his interactions with different characters. For instance, proceeding the second dinkus (i.e., around the fortieth paragraph), Jack interacts with the neighborhood boy Mark. After this interaction, which involved the damage of Mark’s toy, an Obi-Wan Kenobi action figure, Jack antagonizes and victimizes his Chinese mom. In particular, after spending long periods at school, one can notice that Jack appears to become more racist. This is demonstrated through his violent dialogue towards his mother, in which he loudly and shamelessly demanded his mother to “Speak English!”. Later, the narrator expressed that he would not have spoken to his mother unless she spoke in English. This can indicate that his interactions and dialogue with external factors such as racist neighbors and teachers would cause a change in personal identity