Study Guide

American Born Chinese Chapter 1

By Gene Luen Yang

Chapter 1

The Monkey King

  • The book opens with a super-swank dinner party. Who's on the A-list? You've got all the heavy-hitters in Chinese mythology: gods, goddesses, demons, spirits. If they're big and powerful, they're there.
  • The Monkey King, who's down below on his mountaintop, hears the music and the scent of wine drifting down from the party up above. Never one to say no to a good party, he speeds off to the heavens to attend the party, which he assumes he's been invited to.
  • By the way, just so you know, the Monkey King is this amazing ruler of the monkey world. He's mastered kung-fu in addition to a bunch of other things, including the "four major heavenly disciplines": "fist-like-lightning," "thunderous foot," "heavenly senses," and "cloud-as-steed"—all of which means that's he's basically immortal.
  • The Monkey King thinks he's some seriously hot stuff, and definitely guest material for that dinner party he's crashing. He tells that to this bouncer/guard, but the bouncer/guard isn't having it since the Monkey King doesn't have an actual invitation.
  • Plus the Monkey King doesn't have any shoes on. No way can he get in without shoes.
  • Even though the Monkey King tries to convince the bouncer/guard that he should still get in, everyone just laughs at him because he's just a monkey.
  • That really angers the Monkey King, so the Monkey King takes the bouncer/guard by his ponytail (yep, the bouncer's stylin') and bashes him all over the place, thereby causing extreme chaos at the party.
  • After he's shown everyone what's what, he returns to his home on Flower-Fruit Mountain sulky and mad.
  • He also—for the first time—notices his own, thick monkey B.O. He stays up all night trying to figure out how he can get rid of the smell.