Study Guide

American Born Chinese Transformation

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Who doesn't transform in American Born Chinese? Transformation is the one constant in the book. But transformation doesn't mean turning into something or someone completely new. It's more about (re)claiming one's original self, as the Monkey King does with his monkey-ness and as Jin does with his Chinese-ness.

Questions About Transformation

  1. What is the difference between the Monkey King's transformations in the beginning of the book and the transformation he goes through with Wong Lao-Tsai?
  2. What's the relationship between the physical and the psychological transformations Jin goes through?
  3. How does Wei-Chen's transformation support Jin's transformation?
  4. Why do the characters feel the need to transform so much?

Chew on This

Physical transformations are just superficial—what really matter are psychological and spiritual transformations.

Physical transformations are the most important thing—they lead to inner transformations.

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