American Born Chinese

by Gene Luen Yang

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Who are the characters in American Born Chinese?

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American Born Chinese is a graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang that was published in 2006. I am going to present the five most important characters of the story here.

Firstly, one has to mention the Monkey King. He has been rejected by the other gods and goddesses. This upsets him, and in order to combat the resulting feeling of inferiority, the Monkey King goes on a rampage, full of anger. However, with the help of the monk Wong Lai-Tsao, he begins to realize who he truly is and that there is no point in trying to fight that or in trying to be somebody else. So eventually, he begins to accept this.

Jin Wang is the protagonist of the story. He is an insecure teenager who struggles with the fact that people see him as an immigrant. Jin tries very hard to fit in with the white Americans, and he wants to be one of them. He even dreams of living as a white boy, called Danny. In the end, however, Jin realizes that he needs to be proud of his roots rather than trying to be someone that he is not.

Amelia is the girl that Jin Wan is in love with, and Jin wants nothing more than being able to go on a date with her. They end up going on a date, but Jin does not pursue her any further, as Greg talks him out of it: Greg tells him that he is not good enough for Amelia given his immigrant background.

Another important character is Wei-Chen, who becomes Jin’s best friend. In stark contrast to Jin, Wei-Chen is not trying hard at all to fit in with the white Americans. Nevertheless, Wei-Chen and Jin become friends, and Wei-Chen even tries to help Jin to go on a date with Amelia. However, their friendship suffers when Jin kisses Wei-Chen's girlfriend, Suzy. Only at the end of the novel do they make up again.

Greg is a white American boy who could be seen as the antagonist in the story. He is clearly jealous of Jin fancying Amelia. It is because of Greg’s meddling that Jin does not end up being in a relationship with Amelia.

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