Study Guide

American Born Chinese Chapter 8

By Gene Luen Yang

Chapter 8

Jin

  • Back to Jin, who's about to go on his date with Amelia.
  • So he's trying to get Wei-Chen to do him a solid and cover for him—you know, because Jin's parents wouldn't be down with him going on a date.
  • Why? Jin explains with a story about why his mother chose to marry his father.
  • Basically, his dad had the thickest glasses of all the grad students, which—to her—meant that he studied the most and had a strong work ethic. And of course all of that meant that one day he would probably have a high salary.
  • Moral of her story (according to her)? If Jin focuses on his studies, he "can have any girl [he] want[s]."
  • Or, in other words, Jin can't date until he gets beyond a master's degree.
  • But Wei-Chen's not okay with the whole idea. He's not into lying.
  • He finally comes around though, which makes Jin very happy.
  • The scene shifts to Jin and Amelia on their date.
  • Or actually to Jin biking with Amelia on his handlebars. Way to save the planet, Jin.
  • Jin, the narrator, thinks biking with Amelia on the bars is kind of bunk, by the way. How do we know? He tells a story of his cousin Charlie (Jin's into storytelling if you can't tell by now), who told him not to bother dating before getting a driver's license. Jin used to think Charlie was just bitter because of his lack of a social life, but now, after biking Amelia up a hill, Jin isn't so sure.
  • But he's not letting Amelia see him sweat.
  • Once they get to the movie theater, everything's going great, and Amelia's making all sorts of moves to show that she likes Jin, so Jin's about to go one step further and put his arm around her.
  • That is until he remembers how gross his pits must be from all the sweat.
  • So he hightails it to the bathroom, suds up his pits with that icky old school powdered soap bathrooms used to have, and gets back to Amelia.
  • Then he does it—the whole yawn-and-stretch move—and it works.
  • Happiness. That is, until they get out of the theater and he notices all these soapsuds on Amelia's shoulder, which of course means that Jin's pits have visible suds all over them.
  • But he goes with Amelia to the ice cream shop afterward even though he's walking like a mummy.
  • Neither of them see Greg, that popular blonde dude, walking out of the theater behind them with a girl on his arm. But he sees them.
  • Anyway, the rest of the date goes well and Amelia seems cool with Jin, even though Jin can't stop feeling paranoid about his pits.
  • At school the next day, Jin tells Wei-Chen about his pits, so Wei-Chen offers to find out for Jin whether or not Amelia noticed Jin's pits. What a friend, right?
  • In fact, Wei-Chen is awesome because not only did he end up talking to Jin's mother for two hours while Jin was on his date, but Wei-Chen also promised Jin's mom that he'd go shopping with her on the weekend.
  • Jin definitely owes Wei-Chen.
  • In class, Wei-Chen manages to get Amelia's take on the date (all good) and lets Jin know.
  • That leads to some serious romanticizing—Jin can't help imagining Amelia and him married and having a baby. Yep. It's not just girls who have that fantasy.
  • At lunchtime, Jin goes to buy the janitor his orange freeze (Jin's good about clearing his debts) when Greg stops him.
  • Greg asks Jin not to go out with Amelia again. Why? His excuse is that he's just looking out for Amelia's best interests and he doesn't think Jin's the right kind of guy Amelia should be with. Especially since they're almost in high school and what group you're in matters.
  • Whatever, right?
  • Well, no—you see, even though on the inside all Jin wants to do is beat Greg up, when Jin actually sees Amelia and Greg talking in the hallway, he can't get up the guts to do anything but walk away from Amelia.
  • Which totally puzzles Amelia.
  • So what does Jin do next?
  • Kiss Suzy Nakamura of course.
  • If you want to do a double-take, go right ahead. It's a doozy of a plot twist, right?
  • But there is more to it than that. It's not like Jin just goes up to her and lands a hot one on her.
  • He sees Suzy and she's sad because Timmy called her a chink. Pretty sucky, right?
  • What's worse, Suzy was already depressed because she found out that, at another Japanese American girl's birthday party (a girl who used to be her best friend), Suzy was only invited because their mothers are friends, not because the girl really wanted to invite Suzy.
  • Anyway, Jin hears Suzy's story, sees Suzy's tears, and can't help but feel something, so that's when he kisses her.
  • Don't think Suzy's mild-mannered and just takes it though—nope, she punches Jin and walks off.
  • But that's not who Jin really needs answer to.
  • Remember how Wei-Chen is dating Suzy? Guess who shows up at Jin's door.
  • Wei-Chen doesn't get why Jin kissed Suzy, and he goes so far as to say that he thinks Jin and him are like brothers to each other.
  • And that sets Jin off. He says they're nothing alike and that—even though he doesn't even like Suzy—he thinks maybe Wei-Chen isn't good enough for Suzy. Sound familiar?
  • Then to top it off, he says that, after all, Wei-Chen is an F.O.B.
  • Are you thinking of punching Jin? Don't worry—Wei-Chen does it for you.
  • He walks off and Jin is left with two bruised cheeks.
  • He falls asleep convincing himself that he told Wei-Chen the truth.
  • Then he dreams about the little old lady herbalist from Chinatown.
  • She asks him what he would like to become, which prompts him to imagine becoming white.
  • Jin wakes up from the dream. His head's hurting, but his bruises are gone.
  • In fact, his whole face is gone. He looks in the mirror and sees that he's now a white guy.
  • Instead of freaking out about it though, Jin decides that "a new face deserve[s] a new name."
  • And that's how Danny is born.