Study Guide

American Born Chinese Humility

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If we're going to boil this book down to one big takeaway virtue, it's this: be humble. That's the lesson the Monkey King and Danny/Jin both finally arrive at in American Born Chinese. However, humility in the novel also relates to the experience of public shame—so even though it's the most desired way of being in the book, it also takes quite a bit of public humiliation in order to get to this virtue. Is this always necessary? The jury's still out on that one.

Questions About Humility

  1. Why does the Monkey King become a humble character before Jin?
  2. Why is humility such a prized virtue in the book?
  3. If Jin is humble at the end of the book, does that mean he is also meek?
  4. Why is it important for Wong Lao-Tsai to be the model of humility in the book?

Chew on This

You can't be a humble person unless you've experienced pure humiliation.

Being humble also means being weak.

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