Plot Summary

American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang

Thematic Quotes:

“It’s easy to be anything you will, so long as you’re willing to forfeit your soul.” – Old Woman

“You may be a king, you may even be a deity, but you’re still just a monkey.” – Bouncer

Plot Summary

The Monkey King:

–   Rejected from party, becomes violent to prove himself

–   Learns how to alter his appearance/ transform

–   Goes on quest to prove himself, starts to wear shoes

–   Invokes wrath of God and is trapped under a rock for 500 years

–   Saved by a monk, Wong Lai-Tsao, who encourages Monkey to be himself

–   Appears later as Chin-Kee, with his son who appears as Wei Chen

Jin:

–   Wants to be a transformer, and is told he can be anything if he’s willing to “forfeit his soul”

–   Always moving from town to town

–   Has no friends but Wei Chen (The Monkey Kings son) who also likes transformers

–   Jin likes Amelia, a white girl à Wei Chen helps him assimilate to ask her out

–   Greg, a cool white boy, breaks them up

–   Jin kisses Wei Chen’s girlfriend in despair

–   Wei Chen and Jin conflict, ending with Jin rejecting him as a “fresh off the boat”

–   Jin transforms his soul and turns into Danny

Danny:

–   Danny is a cool, white boy, who likes Melody

–   Danny’s stereotypical Chinese cousin visits (Chin-Kee/The Monkey King)

–   Chin-Kee’s presence ruins his popular stature amongst the students, including Melody

–   Danny confronts Chin-Kee, who beats him up with Kung-Fu

–   Danny knocks off Chin-Kee’s mask, revealing his true identity as the Monkey King

–   The Monkey King transforms Danny back into Jin

–   The Monkey King reveals that Wei Chen is his son, and tells Danny/Jin to go to a Chinese diner

–   Jin goes to the diner and makes amends with his best friend, Wei Chen

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The Map:The Hero’s Journey  (adapted from The hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell) The Monkey King’s journey Jin’s journey Danny’s journey
  1. Special World
A party of gods and goddesses The world of imaginary beings and  transformers toys. Everyone loves  Danny.
  1. Ordinary World
Jin in the back seat of car, crying. Danny and Melanie are studying chemistry.
  1. Call to Adventure
He decides to change himself. He and his parents are moving to a new town Danny is told that Chin Kee will be going to school with him.
  1. Refusal of the Call
Refuses to obey the gods. Danny is dismayed.
  1. Meeting the mentor
The monkey King trains in kung Fu to transform himself. An old woman tells Jin he can do anything he wishes if he forfeits his soul. A teacher tells Danny’s class that it would be good if they were a little more like Chin Kee.
  1. Crossing the Threshold
Jin perms his hair to impress Amelia.
The Threshold
  1. Tests and Enemies
The monkey King is informed that he will be executed.    The Monkey king fights with gods and goddesses. Greg asks Jin to stop dating Amelia to save her from a ruined reputation, he defers to Greg. Chin Kee embarrasses Danny with his stereotypical Chinese behavior.
  1. Approach
God intervenes and tells the Monkey to knock off the nonsense. Jin tries to re- approach Amelia but his faith in himself his shattered. Danny drives Chin Kee away.
  1. Ordeal, Death, & Rebirth
 He is trapped under a rock for 500 years as retribution. Jin remembers the old lady, transforms into Danny, and sells his soul for the priviledge.. Chin Kee promises to visit him every year and embarrass him.
  1. Reward, Seizing the Sword
Monkey returns to his true form to fight and save the monk from the demons. Jin is transformed back into the Monkey king. Danny attacks and knocks Chin Kees head off.
  1. The Road Back
The Monkey becomes a disciple and goes on a quest without shoes.
The Threshold  

 

 

  1. Resurrection
Wei-Chen is the Monkey King’s son. He turned his back on being an emissary to mankind when jin betrayed him. The Monkey transforms Danny back into Jin. The Monkey takes off his mask.  Chin Kee was the Monkey king all along.
  1. Return with Elixir
Jin is given a business card of with the address of  the diner.  He goes there and meets Wei Chen.  He tells Wei Chen he is sorry.  They reconcile.  They are happy to be themselves again. The Monkey king tells Jin he would not have spent 500 years under a rock if he had known how cool it was to be a monkey.

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Alternative Book Report Assignment

Instructions:

1.) Create a web/flow chart illustrating the relationships between characters. Differentiate between the different relationships, using a key.

2.  Create a bullet point plot summary, noting 1 or 2 important quotations. Include all important events. This should be about a page in length.

3.)  Create a chart, comparing and contrasting the elements of the quintessential “Heroic Journey” to the story.

Assessment Rubric (100 points total)

Create a 3-5 page booklet that should include;

  • Title and Author: Clearly indicate the title of the book and the author. (20 points)
  • 1 page plot summary:  Create a plot summary, indicating conflicts, resolutions, and main events. (40 points)
  • Heroic Journey Chart: This chart should closely compare the storyline to the elements/steps to the classic Heroic Story format.(40 points)

 Common Core Standards (Grade 9)

W. 9- 10.9 Draw evidence from literary texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

RL.9-10.3 Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

Foreseen Challenges:

The apparent simplicity of this assignment may mislead students into under performing. Their focus should be on identifying the classical elements of heroic plot structure, rather than an in-depth analysis of the specific text.

MS

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