American Born Chinese

American Born Chinese Metaphors and Similes

Happy as a Ginger Root Planted in Ox Manure (Simile)

When Chin-Kee arrives, he tells Danny he is happy "as ginger root pranted in nutritious manure of well-bred ox” to see him. In this simile, Chin-Kee compares his happiness to that of a thriving piece of ginger root.

Cowardly Little Turtle (Metaphor)

After Jin develops a crush on Amelia, Wei-Chen doesn't understand why he won't simply talk to her. Annoyed with Jin's avoidant behavior, Wei-Chen emphasizes Jin's cowardliness by calling Jin a "little turtle." The metaphor references the way turtles retract their heads into their protective shells out of fear for their lives.

Hair as Broccoli (Metaphor)

After Jin perms his hair to make it curly, Wei-Chen asks Suzy why Jin's hair "is a broccoli." In this metaphor, Wei-Chen compares the shape of Jin's new hairstyle to the bumpy texture of a head of broccoli to poke fun at what he sees as ridiculous.

Playing with Fire (Metaphor)

When Danny lashes out against Chin-Kee and begins beating him, Chin-Kee pleads with Danny and warns him to stop, saying that he is playing with fire. The metaphoric phrase draws a comparison between the risk involved in what Danny is doing to the risk involved in carelessly playing with a something as dangerous as fire, the implication being that Danny is about to get burned and it will be his fault.

We're Blood (Metaphor)

After Jin kisses Wei-Chen's girlfriend, Wei-Chen comes to Jin's house and tries to understand why he would betray him. Wei-Chen says that Jin broke his heart, and that they are like brothers. To emphasize his statement, he says "we're blood," a metaphor for the family-like bond that he and Jin share.