Study Guide

American Born Chinese Chapter 9

By Gene Luen Yang

Chapter 9

Danny & Chin-Kee

  • If you think Chin-Kee was cringe-worthy before, keep reading…
  • We're now at the library, and Danny's walking in.
  • First he notices some guys complaining about needing to get checked for SARS. (Check out the "Shout-Outs" section if you need a refresher on what SARS was all about.)
  • Then he hears some really bad singing…
  • It's Chin-Kee, on top of a library table singing—and scaring everyone with—"She Bangs" by Ricky Martin (via William Hung—see the "Shout-Outs" section if you have no clue who Hung is).
  • Danny drags Chin-Kee out of the library and starts to beat him up.
  • Chin-Kee warns him that he doesn't know what he's getting into, but Danny keeps hitting him anyway.
  • All of a sudden, Chin-Kee rises up and starts to do some serious kung-fu on Danny.
  • He beats Danny up pretty good, but Danny gets the last punch in and knocks Chin-Kee's head off his neck.
  • That should be gruesome, but instead of blood squirting everywhere, the Monkey King's head pops up where Chin-Kee's head should have been.
  • Danny's confused. (If you are too, we don't blame you.)
  • Turns out, Chin-Kee was always the Monkey King and the Monkey King was always Chin-Kee.
  • Now that the Monkey King shows himself to Danny, he changes Danny back to his true form: Jin.
  • The Monkey King introduces himself as an emissary of Tze-Yo-Tzuh (he got that position after he finished his journey with the monk).
  • Now for the shocker: he adds that Wei-Chen is actually his son. Oh how the world turns.
  • Here's the backstory on Monkey and Wei-Chen:
    • Once Monkey becomes an emissary for Tze-Yo-Tzuh, he has all his wives and children brought to him. (Think polygamy to the 10th power—he is a monkey after all.)
    • His oldest son—Wei-Chen—decides to follow in his footsteps and become an emissary too.
    • But in order to become an emissary, Wei-Chen has to pass a test of virtue.
    • So for his test, Wei-Chen is sent to live on Earth for forty years with humans but stay free of human vice.
  • You know where this is going because you already know where Wei-Chen's been. No way can he stay clear of human vices.
  • Although he actually does pretty well. That is, until he has to lie to Jin's mother about Jin's date with Amelia.
  • Yep—you knew that was coming back too, right?
  • Wei-Chen tells Monkey about what he did, and Monkey freaks out. After all, he is a dad.
  • Now for the kicker: Wei-Chen confirms with Monkey that Tze-Yo-Tzuh thinks humans are his coolest creation, even better than his emissaries, and then he tells Monkey that Tze-Yo-Tzuh's a fool. Blasphemy.
  • Not only that, but he tells Monkey that he thinks humans suck monkey butt. Okay, no he doesn't really say those exact words, but you follow.
  • So he concludes that he'll live out the rest of his days on Earth purely for his own pleasure. Forget virtue—where's the fun in that?
  • Monkey begs him not to do that and tells him how Wei-Chen will need to face Tze-Yo-Tzuh one day, but Wei-Chen doesn't care—he says anything is better than being a slave to humans.
  • So that's how Wei-Chen and Monkey's story goes.
  • Monkey tells Jin that Wei-Chen no longer lets him visit, which is why Monkey visits Jin instead.
  • Jin thinks it's because Monkey wants to punish him for Wei-Chen's failure, but Monkey insists that's not it.
  • He says he visits Jin because he wants to become Jin's guide, to remind Jin of what's right and wrong.
  • And then we zoom in on a close-up of Chin-Kee's head, which popped off after Jin hit him.
  • Monkey's about to leave, but then Jin stops him and asks him about what he should do next.
  • Monkey says something really mysterious—that basically he wishes he appreciated his monkey self a lot sooner.
  • Then he zooms off on a cloud.
  • A business card floats down from the sky though; it gives an address to a Chinese restaurant.
  • Jin goes home and asks his father for the keys to the car.
  • His father asks where Chin-Kee is, and Jin tells him Chin-Kee left for home early.
  • Jin leaves while his dad tells Jin's mother that she better call her sister and tell her that Chin-Kee's coming home early. Jin's mother tells him that she thought Chin-Kee was his sister's son. That Monkey—such a crafty little guy.
  • So Jin goes to the 490 Bakery Cafe (the restaurant on the card) and sits there, waiting.
  • He does that night after night for a month, until one night, Wei-Chen rolls up in a souped-up sports car with a thumping bass coming out the stereo system.
  • Jin goes out to talk to Wei-Chen, who looks like a total gangster with a mean streak.
  • Jin lets him know that he's talked to Wei-Chen's dad, which reminds Wei-Chen of his monkey roots.
  • So Wei-Chen goes into the restaurant and—over some boba milk tea—he and Jin talk.
  • And Jin apologizes.
  • Wei-Chen considers the apology behind his shades (yes, he's wearing sunglasses at night), over his milk tea and a cigarette. Then he tells Jin that the milk tea sucks and criticizes it like he's Anthony Bourdain.
  • And then? The bromance returns.
  • Wei-Chen invites Jin to a place with the best boba milk tea. That's boy-speak for we're cool again.
  • Jin accepts and they laugh.
  • Go ahead and smile—we did.