American Born Chinese


    The author Gene Luen Yang

    • Yang was born in California.
    • He is the son of Chinese immigrants. His father immigrated from Taiwan and his mother from Hong Kong.
    • Yang's parents met at San Jose State University Library during graduate school
    • Spent a great deal of time instilling in him a strong work ethic and reinforcing their Asian culture.
    • Both of his parents always told him stories during his childhood. This set the foundation for Gene's career in comics.
    • Yang was a part of a small Asian American minority in his elementary school. Yang says that he grew up wanting to be an animator for Disney. In third grade, he did a biographical report on Walt Disney, which is where, he jokes, his obsession started. He says that this all changed in fifth grade when his mother took him to their local book store where she bought him his first comic book, DC Comics presents #57Superman.
    • Yang attended the University of California, Berkeley for his undergraduate program.
    • He wanted to major in art but his father encouraged him to pursue a more "practical" field
    • Yang majored in computer science with a minor in creative writing.College was a time for Yang that he found himself much less of a minority.
    • After graduating in 1995, he went to work as a computer engineer for two years.
    • He realized he was meant to teach and left his job as an engineer to teach computer science at a high school.


    • Fiction
    • Graphic Novel



    • Search for Identity
    • Self Acceptance



    • Assimilation
    • Immigrants and Minorities
    • Chinese Americans
    • Stereotypes


    Book Cover

    Notice that you can only see half of the main character.

    He hasn’t figured out who he is. Yet!

    He is holding a transformer toy. The transformer changes from a robot into a truck. The main character wants to transform himself.


    Parallel Story Line

    There are 3 story lines in the graphic novel American Born Chinese.


    • The story of the Monkey King from Chinese mythology.
    • The story of Jin Wang an American born Chinese boy who is searching for his identity.
    • The story of Chin-Kee the embodiment of all the worst Chinese stereotypes.


    Their stories are separate (parallel) for most of the book. Their stories will converge (meet) at the end of the book.




    The Monkey King        Jin Wang                  Chin-Kee


    When he is a young boy Jin Wang says he wants to be "a transformer".

    He wants to change who he is. 

    He tries to deny his Chinese heritage and culture.

    Jin wants to assimilate and “fit in”.

    From Chinese-American to 100% American.

    He is searching for his identity.


    The Monkey King

    Chinese Fable

    Monkey King is a deity (god)

    The other gods make fun of him and he tries to change who he is.

    He denies that he is a Monkey.

    He will learn to accept his “monkey-ness” and find his identity.



    Chin-Kee (Chinese Stereotype)

    “Chink” is a derogatory name for Chinese.

    He speaks funny. Pronounces L’s as R’s and R’s as L’s

    He has a long ponytail.

    He wears traditional Chinese clothing and shoes all the time.

    The shape of his eyes is exaggerated (slanty eyes)

    Notice that his luggage is take-out Chinese food containers.





    The “All-American Boy”

    He is tall, blonde, blue-eyed, handsome, athletic and popular.

    Danny is everything that Jin Wang wants to become.






    An immigrant from Taiwan.

    When Wei-Chen meets Jin he shows Jin a present from his father, a transformer toy that transforms to a robot monkey.

    Jin Wang's best freind.

    Wei-Chen's girlfriend is Suzy Nakamura.

    He is actually the Monkey King's son!




    the creator of the universe and all of the deities.