Last Updated on August 6, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 610
F.O.B., which stands for "fresh off the boat," is a play about the conflicts and contrasts between first-generation, second-generation, and newly arrived Asian Americans.
The play starts with one of the main characters, Dale, described as a "second generation American of Chinese descent," entering the stage with a blackboard and proceeding to tell the audience his opinion on F.O.B.s.
F-O-B. Fresh Off the Boat. FOB. Clumsy, ugly, greasy FOB. Loud, stupid, four-eyed FOB. Big feet. Horny. Like Lenny in Of Mice and Men. FLoods Like Lenny in Of Mice and Men. F-O-B Fresh Off the Boat. FOB.
Though Dale has become very Americanized, it seems to have been at the expense of his own identity.
I have friends now. Lots. They drive Porsche Carreras. Well, one does. He has a house up in the Hollywood Hills where I can stand and look down on the lights of L.A.
He has grown to hate his Chinese heritage.
My parents—they don't know nothing about the world, about watching Benson at the Roxy . . . They're yellow ghosts and they've tried to cage me up with Chinese-ness when all the time we were in America.
Grace represents the first generation of Asian Americans. She has struggled to integrate, but, as she states, this struggle was more with her own people than with the white Americans. It was, she claims, the Chinese Americans who would make fun of her clothes and accent when she first arrived.
You know, when Mom could finally bring me to the U.S., I was already ten. But I never studied my English . . . There were a few Chinese girls . . . but they were American-born, so they wouldn't even talk to me. They'd just stay with themselves and compare how much clothes they all had, and make fun of the way we all talked. I figured I had a better chance of getting in with the white kids than with them.
At one point, she says, she even bleached her hair in an attempt to make friends with white people.
I figured I had a better chance of getting in with the white kids than with them, so in junior high I started bleaching my hair and hanging out at the bleach.
Due to their struggles, both of them react with envy and suspicion toward Steve—a new, rich Chinese emigrant who has...
(The entire section contains 610 words.)
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