American Born Chinese

by Gene Luen Yang

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Why does the author consider the theme of acceptance in identity an important message?

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For Jin, the acceptance of one's identity and the acceptance needed within it is vitally important.  Jin recognizes that such realities are where the hopes of happiness lie. Throughout the narrative, he has found himself seeking to be accepted by others, a condition in which his own identity is rooted in far from acceptance.  Rather, Jin's pursuit of mainstream acceptance is one in which his own identity is based in the perceptions of others.  He cannot see himself but through the gaze of another.  In this, there is a lack of identity in acceptance.  As Jin's revelations and epiphanies begin to demonstrate, Jin is only able to fully understand his own sense of self and his own identity through acceptance.  In this, Jin finds happiness for he is no longer trapped by the gaze of the other.  I think that this is where Yang's work becomes important and one in which there is a sense of resolution present.  For the author, the most important way in which one can no longer see themselves or be seen as "the other" lies in the very ability to be able to accept one's own identity and find a sense of acceptance within it.  In this, the theme becomes essential to the author's primary motivation of the work.

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