“Class, I’d like us all to give a warm Mayflower Elementary welcome to your new friend and class mate Jing Jang!”
“He and his family moved to our neighborhood all the way from China!”
“My momma says Chinese people eat dogs.”
“Now be nice, Timmy! I’m sure Jin doesn’t do that! In fact, Jin’s family probably stopped that sort of thing as soon as they came to the United States!”
The only other Asian in my class was Suzy Nakamura. When the class finally figured out that we weren’t related, rumors began to circulate that Suzy and I arranged to be married on her thirteenth birthday. We avoided each other as much as possible.
Source - American Born Chinese P 30 - 31
Paraphrase, Develop, and Analysis:
On his first day at his new school at Mayflower Elementary school Jin was introduced to the class by his new teacher, Ms. Greeder. She wanted the class to give him a warm and friendly welcome to make him feel more welcomed. However, while introducing Jin she introduced him by the wrong name. She called him Jing Jang and he had to correct her by telling her his name was actually Jin Wang yet she still mispronounced it one more time. She then explained to the class that he had recently moved to the United States from China. Jin clarified that he moved from San Francisco, not China and the teacher repeated it to the class. Then one boy named Timmy raised his hand. When called on by the teacher the boy explained that his mother told him that Chinese people eat dogs. The teacher then reminded Timmy that he needed to be nice and then made a really ignorant comment. She said that Jin Wang’s family most likely stopped eating things like dogs a long time ago due to them moving to the United States. Jin then went on to explain through narration that there was one other Asian student in his class named Suzy. All the kids in the class spread a rumor that the two of them were to be in an arranged marriage after they learned they were not related to one another in anyway. Therefore, the two tried to never interact with each other.
In other words, this is a prime example of what many children from immigrant families must go through when they first go to a new school. Its hard to fit in, people don’t really understand you, and people often may not understand your culture at all. Even the teacher in the story seemed to be completely ignorant to Asian culture. The one boy’s rude comment was completely inappropriate but at the same time very typical of a young immature American boy. Another novel that proves this to be true is Richard Rodriguez’s “The Hunger of Memory.” For example, his early school experiences when he first came to the United States were not the greatest and the language barrier made things just that much harder. Jin and Richard, both being from families from different background than most of their classmates, had a hard time feeling comfortable at first in their new schools.
The main purpose of this article was to show the readers what it was like to be a new Asian student in an American school where no one really understood you because you came from a family with a different cultural background than most of your peers. It seems the author also really wanted to point out some of the many American stereotypes that people actually believe about the Chinese and other Asian cultures. The main point of view presented in this part of story is from Jin ‘s perspective who shows the reader the struggles he had to endure while growing up simply because he was Asian American. This book seems to be much like The Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez and Persepolis by Marjane Satrap because all the stories have characters going through hard times awhile trying to adapt to new places. Much of these problems are due to having personal identities that are greatly molded by their ethnic backgrounds.