Since last class, I’ve been struck by the passage on page 47 of Donald Duk. Donald asks the question, “Why does Dad like being Chinese?” (Chin 47). Here, I think he is questioning why his father, who was raised by his parents to be fully “American,” has chosen to immerse himself in Chinese culture. Donald just wants to be American at this point and doesn’t understand. However, I think he does start to understand towards the end of the book, and even starts to include himself in Chinese culture by saying “We” instead of “The Chinese.” Why do you think Donald has now chosen to accept his Chinese heritage?

Choosing to be Chinese

3 thoughts on “Choosing to be Chinese

  • September 12, 2019 at 2:40 am

    I believe there’s a buildup to the point that Donald will never be accepted in America even if he himself is American. Despite his name being Donald Duk, a debatably quintessential American name, he is mocked. Despite the American Cong’s service (which in itself should ‘prove allegiance’ to America as his country) against Vietnamese and Chinese, he is rejected by American veterans. Despite the Chinese rail workers breaking a world record and literally connecting America, American historical records erase them. However, I don’t think that any of that is what brings him to accept and embrace his Chinese heritage. It changed his perspective about who was making his life difficult for sure, but he learned way more about the culture than was necessary to prove Mr. Meanwright wrong. I believe that he genuinely got interested for the purpose of decoding his dreams and finding himself.

  • September 12, 2019 at 3:21 am

    I agree with the first comment! Donald has this disconnect between his Asian and his American identity, and because he is constantly bullied for his name it makes sense that he’d want to get rid of any Chinese cultural aspect from his life because he deems it as the root to his unhappiness. I also agree that his dreams allowed him to gain a newfound perspective of his Chinese culture, and even began to interest him. He’s chosen his Chinese identity because I think he realized he had things to be proud of, and being an American doesn’t mean forgetting where you came from, it’s about sharing your own history and background with others. I think this can recreate his meaning behind what an American is, not just rich white people, but people from all sorts of different backgrounds. That’s at least what I got from the book! Let me know if you thought something else, I’d love to hear it.

  • September 16, 2019 at 9:42 pm

    In addition to the points already made, I believe that the masculine Chinese males who Donald interacted with throughout the story also made him proud of his Chinese heritage. For example, Kwan Kung, Kwan, Yin, the 108 Chinese heroes, and the Chinese railroad laborers support Frank Chin’s purpose to disprove the feminine Asian male stereotype. These male figures encouraged Donald to recognize the falsity of American’s perception of the Chinese Americans’ contribution to the railroad, which gives him the courage to speak against Mr. Meanwright.

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