Study Guide

American Born Chinese What's Up With the Ending?

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What's Up With the Ending?

We admit it: the ending is totally wild. Who could have predicted that Chin-Kee was actually the Monkey King? Or that Wei-Chen was the son of Monkey and also an emissary-in-training? But it all works and here's why: The ending is all about giving up fantasies and reclaiming what's real. Not clear on how a Monkey King and his shape-shifter son constitute what's real?

Good point, but hear us out. Real in this book doesn't just mean the real world (whatever that means)—it also means facing one's nature and learning to love it. In Jin's case, that means he has to learn to love his Chinese self because his Chinese self is real.

Which is why it's totally fitting that the Monkey King—a major folkloric Chinese hero who goes through the parallel experience of learning to love his monkey self—comes to Jin as his guide. What better bearer of Chinese culture than a popular icon of Chinese literature?

Because of the Monkey King, Jin abandons his white Danny alter ego and regains the other real person in his life: Wei-Chen, the friend who loyally supported him despite all of Jin's issues. It also makes complete sense that Wei-Chen, who's as Chinese as they come, is the one to introduce Danny to real, contemporary Chinese American culture. Forget the Chin-Kees of the world—they're fantasies too, and bad ones to boot.

What does Wei-Chen want to talk about? The qualities of a good pearl milk tea. Now that's real, 21st-century, Chinese American culture. And that's what he has to offer to the transformed Jin.

What do we have at the end then? The perfect Chinese American bromance.

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