73 pages 2 hours read

Gene Luen Yang

American Born Chinese

Fiction | Graphic Novel/Book | Middle Grade | Published in 2006

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.

Character Analysis

Jin Wang/Danny

The protagonist of American Born Chinese, Jin Wang is a middle-schooler for most of the novel. He is a dynamic character who goes through significant personal change and growth as the novel progresses. When he was a young child, he lived with his parents in an apartment in Chinatown in San Francisco. Surrounded by Asian culture, Jin is unaware of racist attitudes towards Asians until he moves with his parents away from Chinatown. As soon as Jin starts school, where most of his classmates are White, he learns about what it means to be treated as an “other” by his peers, and these lessons are often confusing and painful.

Jin is an American boy, as evidenced by his clothes and attitudes, but he is raised by his Chinese parents and is therefore aware of the expectations of both cultures. These expectations clash at times, and Jin navigates the confusion with the help of his friends Suzy and Wei-Chen. Jin experiences a wide range of emotions regarding the racist and discriminatory attitudes of some of his classmates, but he lacks self-awareness of his internalized racism; when he becomes angry, for example, he lashes out at his friends for being Asian and, perhaps worse, for being comfortable with their Asian identities.

Related Titles

By Gene Luen Yang