American Born Chinese

by Gene Luen Yang

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How is the language and stereotypes in this novel too much for a young adult to handle?

Expert Answers

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That the language and stereotypes in this graphic novel are too much to handle is debatable, as it is unclear what "too much to handle" actually means. The graphic novel is definitely direct about Asian stereotypes as well as Caucasian stereotypes, and for a young adult who doesn't understand stereotypes, these concepts might be difficult to grasp. As well, a young adult who can relate to the book because he or she has experienced being stereotyped like any of the characters in the novel are being stereotyped, might feel pain or shame while reading or discussing the book in class. Stereotypes are painful because they reduce individuals to an incomplete list of identifiers and cause a lot of misunderstanding, so that could definitely be a lot to handle. Thirdly, clumsy treatment of the language and the stereotypes in a classroom setting could actually teach a young adult how to hurt someone else, which might discourage a teacher from using the book in class for fear of it being too much for some students with latent tendencies towards meanness.

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