1. Clearly Chin wants us to pay attention to the names in his book beginning with main character, Donald Duk, which is also the title of the book. Why does Chin choose to use Donald Duk’s full name almost every time he is mentioned? And do you think there is significance to Chin’s choice of the Disney franchise for some of his characters’ names? What is the meaning behind the name Donald Duk and what does it infer about Donald and his own struggles with his identity? And on that note as well, what do you think the meaning is behind Arnold Azalea’s name and why is he so interested in Donald’s family’s traditions and heritage?
  2. Why does Chin write his book from the perspective of Donald Duk as the main character but not in first person? Do you think there’s a reason why the author interchanges calling Donald’s parents by their real names and Mom and Dad? And to that end, since the book is written knowing Donald’s opinions of his Chinese community, do you think this negatively influences the portrayal of the Chinese American community in San Francisco? Would it be more positive if it was in someone else’s point of view, like Donald’s best friend or one of his sisters? 
  3. Why do you think Chin puts nearly every Chinese (or Cantonese) phrase in italics? Does highlighting these phrases that make them stand out more to the reader as being in a language different from English? And how does this play on the stereotypes explored so far in the book?
Rachel’s Reading questions for September 9 (Chin 1-85)
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One thought on “Rachel’s Reading questions for September 9 (Chin 1-85)

  • September 9, 2019 at 9:54 pm

    I was really interested in the way Chin wrote the POV of the novel as well as his sentence structure that I believe ties into his POV choice. Personally, I believe Chin is trying to challenge the stereotypical “smart Asian.” It is revealed that Donald rather be dancing than paying attention to his schooling and the constant use of his own name in his own narrative makes the story seem almost barbaric and untamed. The frequent simple sentence structure also lends a helping hand in “dumbing down” the text, for lack of a better phrase.

    The latter is more difficult for me to place because I feel like it touches on the white racism in Chinatown, more specifically portrayed when the man asks Donald where he can find firecrackers. Just as in that situation, the descriptive sentences are often once long (“They seem to be wearing all the clothes they own under their coats” 3) and then the same image is repeated but less descriptive (“Their coats bulge” 3). I believe this is mimicking the white view of stereotypical Asian Americans who reside in Chinatown, that being people who can only understand bare minimum English and need to hear the same thing multiple times in the simplest way possible.

    I really think Chin is doing his job in exposing Asian stereotypes and critiquing White America’s downfall in believing so profusely in them.

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