Something that I noticed while reading the first part of the book was that Donald Duk appears to be somewhat of an antithesis to his father. While his father actively accepts and embraces Chinese culture and attempts to integrate his family into it by teaching them about Chinese traditions and history, Donald Duk views these attempts with contempt and actively tries to subvert his Chinese heritage as he believes that one must be all or nothing— he cannot be both Chinese AND American (and he most definitely would rather be American). On page 42, Donald Duk’s father explains that those who immigrated from Asia were able to maintain their native language and culture while simultaneously taking on their new American culture and English language. They were “including American in everything else that they know” instead of trying to be only American. I can see notion of dual cultures and integration with the father’s cooking. Although he owns a Chinese restaurant and cooks in a Chinese kitchen, the father melds both Chinese cuisine with the cuisine from other places and likes talking about the “difference between pure French cooking and the French-with-the-Chinese- twist cooking he does” (9). Like the immigrants that the father talks about later in the book, the father takes on facets of other cultures and uses them with his own Chinese one to make something special. Donald Duk, on the other hand, only ever asks for what “he thinks is pure American food” like steak. Hence, Donald Duk is once again actively trying to deny his Chinese side by not ordering Chinese food and instead he only asks his father to make him food that he deems is decent.
Parallel in Donald Duk