Short Story: American Born Chinese

Decent Essays

In this interesting short story, the author presents a theme that is very relevant in modern day’s world that is one of self-awareness and identity. Identity from its definition may seem inter-related to self-awareness, but in reality, they are not. Identity by definition is a representation of what a person is, his or her: value, beliefs, customs, ideas and culture. Self-awareness however is the realization of a person by understanding his or her limits (Amy 157). Therefore, these two concepts of identity and self-awareness are related. This short story is about a young Chinese student who makes her first trip to China to look for her half-sisters and family. For the purpose of this essay, I will highlight in details how the character finds her identity as a Chinese born in America. The story explores stereotypes as part of humor and interior conflict (a person struggling within her own self to try to find answers to questions that bother her). During the train ride, the narrator introduces the symbolic setting of the story. The young student as much she is in China, she however has her internal feelings and different idea of how it would feel to be a “Chinese.” June May, is ignorant of the Chinese culture and assumes the stereotypical stories she heard from her mother is what she would become or find there. For instance, she wonders whether she would be transformed into a “werewolf haggling with store owners, pecking her mouth with a toothpick in public, and being

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