American Born Chinese

American Born Chinese Literary Elements


Graphic novel

Setting and Context

The novel alternates between an unnamed American suburb and a mythic dimension populated by deities.

Narrator and Point of View

The novel is narrated in Jin's first-person voice during sections in Jin's point of view; the narration is third-person during The Monkey King's and Danny's sections.

Tone and Mood

The tone is oscillates between being humorous and dramatic; the mood is sometimes fantastical, sometimes despairing, and often lonely.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Jin is the main protagonist, with the Monkey and Danny acting as protagonists in minor storylines. The primary antagonists are Timmy, Greg, Wei-Chen, and Chin-Kee..

Major Conflict

Jin's major conflict is his desire to reject his Chinese heritage and assimilate into white American culture in order to gain mainstream social acceptance.


The story reaches its climax when Jin transforms into Danny and battle Chin-Kee, who reveals himself to be the Monkey King.


Greg's concerned look when he sees Jin and Amelia enjoying their date foreshadows when Greg asks Jin not to ask her out again.



The story of the Monkey King is an allusion to the folk tale of Sun Wukong, who is a character in the Chinese novel Journey to the West.




Metonymy and Synecdoche