Free Essay

Trying to Find Chinatown

In: English and Literature

Submitted By oliviacurt13
Words 279
Pages 2
Two perspectives on modern Chinese American identity clash on a New York City corner when Benjamin, a Caucasian Asian American, and Ronnie, a fully assimilated street musician of Asian ancestry, debate ethnic identity. The charm of this two-person play is that each character is equally likable (and at times equally annoying); their arguments, though oppositional, equally viable; and, in the end, no single viewpoint is privileged. Their debate about how best to represent oneself as an Asian American ends not in a victory but in a draw.

Benjamin Wong is blue eyed and blond haired. His midwestern drawl is the sound of a Kansas childhood, and his ethnic pride rants reflect his liberal education at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he majored in Asian American studies. Benjamin’s last name and his ethnic identity are products of his adoption as an infant into an Asian American family. Benjamin’s visit to New York City, his first, is a pilgrimage to pay homage to his recently deceased father. He wants to visit his father’s birth house in Chinatown, but first he needs directions, which he hopes to wrestle from Ronnie, who, Asian in appearance, looks like he might know.

Ronnie is a violinist of credible ability whose range covers classical to jazz, but not the country-western that is music to Benjamin’s ears. When Benjamin mistakenly identifies Ronnie’s instrument as a fiddle, tempers flare. Ronnie’s hurled invective “hick” is misplaced, however, as Benjamin points out, “you can’t judge my race by my genetic heritage alone.” Asian in skin tone and facial features, Ronnie knows little about the history of his culture, and it is a lesson in injustices...

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Trying to Find Chinatown

...11/19/2014 Offensive Language in D.H. Hwang's Play, Trying to Find Chinatown - Wattpad Join Wattpad to read and share books and stories (for free). Choose a username Offensive Language in D.H. Hwang's Play, "Trying to Find Chinatown" Reality is what it is...real. To ignore any aspect of what is real sends us on a fool's errand and limits our exposure to ideas and ideals of individuals who do not meet our own "acceptable" criteria. This is part and parcel of the conflict spotlighted in the thought provoking play "Trying to Find Chinatown" by David Henry Hwang. The play centers on a chance encounter between two 20-something men on a New York Street. From the beginning their interaction is fraught with misunderstanding and prejudice. Ben, an out of town Caucasian is merely looking for an address when he happens upon an Asian, nearly his own age, working his heart out as a street musician on an electric violin. After showing his appreciation of the music with a few coins, he is instantly attacked when he asks for directions. The attack by Ronnie is full of insolence, malice, and seething hatred directed toward his "white" tormentor. Ronnie's tirade is peppered with profanity and frequent references to stereotypes of the rural inhabitants of the non-urban American South, twice referring to Ben as a "cousin fucker", completely ignoring Benjamin's own admission of being from the Midwest. Ronnie makes the assumption that due to Ben's skin color and rural background that he is......

Words: 895 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Trying to Find Chinatown

...The drama “Trying to find Chinatown” by David Henry Hwang, the short story “Brownies” by Z. Z. Parker and the poem “I, Too” by Langston Hughes all deal with stereotypes and how the characters in each work deal with them. While differently illustrated by each author, the theme is the same: overcoming the obstacle of stereotypes. In “Trying to find Chinatown”, the main character, Benjamin, is trying to find his roots and feel a sense of belonging. On his way he stops and talks to Ronnie a street musician of Asian descent to ask for directions. Interestingly, Ronnie greets Benjamin with less than stellar enthusiasm because he calls Ronnie’s instrument a fiddle instead of a violin. Ronnie blasts Benjamin with, “If this was a fiddle, I’d be sitting here with a cob pipe, stomping my cowboy boots and kicking up hay.” (page 1825). The anger evoked in this line is strong and little does Ronnie know that he and Benjamin share similar heritages. Benjamin is not only faced with dealing with an ignorant stereotypical slur but ironically so by the very heritage he has come to embrace and is looking to find solace in. Benjamin calls down Ronnie and tells him that “it’s very stereotypical to think that all Asian skin tones conform to a single hue”. (page 1827) Despite being told he doesn’t fit the mold of an Asian American, Benjamin goes on to find his place in Chinatown and “felt immediately…a world where all things were finally familiar” (page1829). Similarly, “Brownies” deals......

Words: 480 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Overseas Chinese

...OVERSEAS CHINESE TABLE INTRODUCTION: Defining overseas Chinese 4 UNDERSTANDING OVERSEAS CHINESE A. History and cultural background 1. Southeast Asia 2. North America 3. Europe 4. Chinatowns B. The reasons for immigrating abroad 1. Political reasons 2. Economic and social reasons C. Current status 1. Population distribution 2. Southeast Asia a. The overseas Chinese’s paradox b. The Indonesian case 3. The United States 4. Europe BUSINESS WORLD OF CHINESE A. Rise of Global Chinese Companies & Huaqiao B. Regional Analysis 1. Asia 2. The United States 3. Europe C. Size of Chinese Capital Worldwide SUCCESS OF OVERSEAS CHINESE A. The Business Style B. The Downside of their Business Style THE CHANGES IN THE OVERSEAS CHINSESE SOCIETY A. Old and New Generation: How are they Different? B. The New Business of the New Generation C. The New Trend in the Chinese Immigration CONCLUSION A. Future Outlook of the Hua Qiao B. The opportunity to work with Overseas Chinese: WCEC 2005 in Seoul Introduction Defining overseas Chinese Overseas Chinese are ethnic Chinese people who live outside of China. China, in this usage, may refer to Greater China including territory currently administered by the rival governments of the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China as per traditional definitions of the term prior to the Chinese civil war, or only to the People's Republic of China by some quarters. In addition, the government of the Republic of China granted......

Words: 7862 - Pages: 32

Free Essay

Enjoying Learning

...answer that it is worth to fertilize the soul of themselves through a growing knowledge. Some people may insist that they gain more material things from learning such as that it is useful to prepare them for a job. However, students have been blinded by those visible material things and they neglect the transformation of the human characters. While to an extent "seeing is believing", quite often it is what you don’t see that makes the difference. Receiving liberal art education, students are able to have many kinds of perspectives and use them appropriately. For these reasons, I believe learning just like Tangram which is a square divided into seven pieces that can be arranged in many ways. People hold on consistently and persistently to find the possibility of the world and themselves. This journey is permanent and people should enjoy it and embrace it. And students should see invisible changing when they are learning. Fortunately, at Drew University, I did see students were eager to embrace the process of learning from my observation of Chinese classes.  In the class I observed, I found my notion of freedom, a key to embrace learning, was confirmed. More interestingly, there were plenty of ways for the pursuit of freedom. When I observed Chinese class, I saw the classroom had blue wall which differs from the yellow chairs in other class and evoked tranquility, freedom and esteem. To my surprise, the placing of tables and...

Words: 1126 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Where the Gods Fly

...initial dependent human longing for protection and love in the presence of a mother. As the mother is everything a child needs when it is born, the mother also only needs the child in that moment. That bond is more precious than anything in the world, which is why every mother tries to have her children as close to her as she can. Every mother loves her child. They can argue, discuss intensely, the can even fight, but at the end of the day, a mother will always love her child. Because of the love, a mother has for her child; it is hard for her to let go. Some will tell their children how they feel, and some will just what do they think is the right thing for the child and hope that the child will understand. Motherly love is a topic we find in the short story “Where the Gods Fly”, written in 2012 by Jean Kwok. The short story is from the anthology “The Shortlist” which was one of the short stories that won The Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award in 2012. Briefly, the short story is about a mother: fearful that she may be losing touch with her, and that she may be losing all that is inherent in her culture. A Chinese mother takes the drastic step of removing her daughter from ballet school. This paper contains an analysis and interpretation where part of the paper focuses on the structure of the story and the use of contrasts. The mother in the short story narrates the story, which means, the point of view in the short story is a limited omniscient first......

Words: 1173 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Short Story 'Shun-Wai' By Taien Ng

...“Shun-Wai” by Taien Ng is a short story in which the author recounts her childhood memory of her visit to her grandparents’ place in Hong Kong when she was thirteen. Taien Ng was born in 1970 in Vancouver. Being a first-generation Canadian-born Chinese, Taien Ng did not always understand or come to appreciate her Chinese heritage. However, she still found her mother’s attitudes towards traditional Chinese practice hypocritical: while her mother constantly reminded her of her Chinese heritage, at the same time her mother is overly critical of traditional Chinese practices when they’re in conflict with her own religious beliefs, even to the point of demanding the author’s grandparents to take apart something they hold dear - the Shun-Wai. The...

Words: 463 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Big Board

...Big Board, the company we choose to interview, is a restaurant/bar which they are known for not only for the delicious gourmet burgers, but also for its success and location. The business was established by three brothers, Mark, Eric, Doyle Flannery, and, long time friend, Dave had an opportunity to have their dream. Big Board is located where the community is becoming stronger as the neighborhood is reventating on H Street which increases their potential opportunity to increase their customers. As for H Street’s history, there is a community within other businesses on the street, they have a liaison where they stand strong together by supporting each other. These are just a few of the many factors that lead Big Board to choose H street as its home. With that being said, Big Board are not afraid of their growing competition. The purpose of this community, Big Board doesn't view his “neighbors” as direct competition. Instead all the businesses helped each other by supporting each other and leaving a huge range of advantages over the “outside” restaurants in other locations. The availability for the space and the expectation of having a trolley that will be available during the summer that should increase the community. Not only being limited to H Street, but they also support local business by choosing their suppliers. Mr. Flannery has emphasize that most of his products are obtain from Maryland, Virginia, and District of Columbia area. “These companies are small and......

Words: 1100 - Pages: 5

Free Essay


...JAKARTA 101 FOR EPs ICX GCDP in AIESEC UI Jakarta, Indonesia! Jakarta in a Glimpse Jakarta is the Indonesia’s economic, cultural and political center. It is the most populous city in Indonesia and in Southeast Asia, and is the tenth-largest city in the world. It is seldom viewed as a center for tourism other than the old part of the city, which is a popular tourist destination. However the Jakarta authority saw the opportunity to develop the city's reputation as a service and tourism city. There are many new tourism infrastructures, entertainment centers, and international-class hotels and restaurants being built in Jakarta. Jakarta also possesses many historical places and cultural heritage. Chaotic, crowded, and cosmopolitan, Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, is a city of contrasts. Home to millions of people from around the world, the city is a mixture of languages and cultures, poverty and wealth. The city boasts some of the best nightlife in Asia and some of the worst traffic. 1. Weather in Jakarta The weather in Jakarta is tropical with high humidity and lots of rainfall. Jakarta weather really only has two seasons, with a rainy season (November to June) and a dry season (July to October). Even during the dry season there are some rainy days. Wet season From November till June Jakarta experiences wet season. January is the wettest month of the year when it receives around 400 mm of precipitation. Moreover, the month witnesses......

Words: 3047 - Pages: 13

Free Essay

Final Film Critique La Confidential

...Final Film Critique – LA Confidential Adam Ehinger Ashford University: ENG225 Instructor Michael O'Donnell 1/31/2015 Sometimes a movie makes a lasting impression on you as an individual, sometimes you'll come back to this movie time and time again. LA Confidential (1997) is a combination of a star studded cast and a scintillating detective story set in the 50's. The movie combines all aspects of movie making, from acting, directing, writing, mise en scene and all sorts of film techniques to make one of the most entertaining noir's you'll ever see. LA Confidential (1997) is directed by Curtis Hanson, he doesn't have this prolific history of stunning movies like some other directing heavy weights but he handles an a-list cast and directing duties admirably here. While most of the big names in the cast weren't technically BIG names yet they must have still had personalities or needed work to get the job done. Notably at least to me is Kim Basinger, someone who usually I do not enjoy, usually a weak point in movies for me, but in this she is perfectly fine, nothing to much, but not noticeable like usual, a feat in directing to me. The cast is name after name, Russel Crowe as the ham fisted Officer Bud White, Kevin Spacey playing the mercurial Detective Jack Vincennes, Guy Pearce in my eyes as his break out performance playing the golden child Ed Exley. You have a plethora of famous character actors to back these boys up, David Strathairn......

Words: 2121 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Amy Tan's In The Joy Luck Club

...In the short story In The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan shows us how Jing-Mei develops, interacts with other characters, and advances throughout the course of the text. Out of the four families Jing-Mei learned valuable lessons from her mother. Her and her mother experienced many thing from her mother leaving her baby sisters, to her trying to become a prodigy, from her learning things that would help her later, and meeting her sisters even though her mother was not able to. The main character Jing-Mei learns important lesson and gradually changes from being confused like she just thought she couldn’t be nothing better than the way she already was so she didn’t try very hard to developing into trying and doing things that would help her like...

Words: 1224 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Eth125, Wk4

...University of Phoenix Material Appendix D Part I Define the following terms: |Term |Definition | |Ethnic group |A group set apart from others because of its national origin or distinctive cultural patterns. | |Anti-Semitism |Hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group. | |Islamophobia |Fear or hatred of Muslims, their culture, or their politics. | |Xenophobia |Fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign. | |Persecution |The act or practice of persecuting, harassing, or annoying those who differ in origin, religion, or | | |social outlook. | |Religious group |A collection of individuals who share a unified system of sacred beliefs and practices that encompass | | |elements beyond everyday life that inspire awe, respect, and even fear. | Part II Select at least 1 religious and 1 ethnic/racial group not your own from the list below. • Religious groups (based on ...

Words: 2905 - Pages: 12

Premium Essay


...* HOW DO CULTURE AND OTHER FACTORS AFFECT THE SOCIAL ORGANIZATION OF A COMMUNITY? * HOW DO CULTURE AND OTHER FACTORS AFFECT THE LEADERSHIP OF A COMMUNITY? * WHAT ARE EXAMPLES OF SOCIAL NETWORKS AND ETHNIC ORGANIZATIONS THAT A COMMUNITY BUILDER CAN USE TO LEARN ABOUT THE SOCIAL ORGANIZATION OF A GROUP AND TO IDENTIFY AND ENGAGE ITS LEADERS? * WHAT ARE SOME OF THE COMMON CHALLENGES THAT A COMMUNITY BUILDER MIGHT FACE WHEN WORKING IN A DIVERSE COMMUNITY? In order to work effectively in a culturally and ethnically diverse community, a community builder needs to first understand how each racial and ethnic group in that community is organized in order to support its members. It is not uncommon to hear a community leader, a funder, a political representative, or a service provider say, "We were not able to engage that group over there because they are not organized. They have no leaders. We need to organize them first." This statement is not always accurate; most groups have their own network of relationships and hierarchy of leaders that they tap into for mutual support. These networks or leaders may not be housed in a physical location or building that is obvious to people outside of the group. They may not even have a label or a title. There is an unspoken understanding in some groups about when and whom they should turn to among their members for advice, guidance, and blessing. Once a community builder understands the social organization of the group, it will become......

Words: 5041 - Pages: 21

Free Essay

Ethnographic Observation Assignment

...Anthropology 202 Fall 2015 Instructor: Ian Kalman Written Assignment: Ethnographic Observation This assignment is an exercise in ethnographic observation. Students are asked to choose a location in the Montreal area for a field site. There, they will spend at least an hour, taking (hand-written) notes on what they observe. Successful sites are those in which, to some extent, what is considered ‘normal’ differs from the observer’s own sense of normal. In other words, students are asked to go to a place where taken-for-granted knowledge differs from their own and report on their experiences and insights. In doing so, you make something that was previously strange slightly more familiar, and write about it. Students are then asked to write their papers in two parts, including both a description and analysis of their experience (total 1800 words maximum). Analyses should be no more than 400 words. Papers will be assigned a grade based on the success with which they, (1) demonstrate they have chosen a site appropriate for anthropological observation, (2) richly describe what they observed, and (3) draw out and support interesting interpretations rooted in their experience. Assignments count for 30% of the student’s final grade. Unexcused late submissions will be penalized five points per day of lateness. Papers must be submitted in word format electronically before 2:30PM on Tuesday, October 20th. Please note that as this is an electronic submission, you will......

Words: 1203 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Everything That Rises Must Converge

...chess to escape from the demands of her mother and to assert her newfound identity. She recounts “invisible strength” as a “strategy for winning arguments, respect from others, and eventually… chess games” (82). Waverly lives in San Francisco’s Chinatown with her mother, a Chinese immigrant, and two brothers. Before Meimei becomes a chess champion, she “bite[s] back her tongue” (82) wisely. At this point, Meimei is young and immature; she does not yet have the capacity to oppose her mother. Her mother imparts important life lessons, knowing they will be critical for Meimei and her brothers to rise out of poverty and to assimilate into American society. Her mother also drills the importance of assiduousness when telling her daughter that the Chinese are not “lazy like American people.” This idea confuses Meimei and inculcates a conflicting image about what being an “American” truly means. On Christmas, Meimei’s family receives a chess set as a donation and quickly digests the rules and techniques of playing chess. Although apprehensive at first, her mother appreciates that Meimei is learning an American game, telling Meimei to “find out why”—find out the secrets to American success, find out the keys to unlocking the American dream, find out the ways to assimilate into American society. Her mother struggles as an immigrant to the United States, struggles with learning the “rules” that govern America, and struggles with leaving behind friends, family, and a cherished homeland......

Words: 1396 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Data Mining for Predictive Analytics

...Data Mining for Predictive Analytics Stanley Kenton Marks December 11th, 2012 Abstract Simply collecting data for research is nearly a faux pas in today’s competitive web-market. Analysts are now looking toward the predictive analytics of association discovery in web and data mining, to find Business Intelligence of clustering sub=populations while eliminating errors to keep collected data valid. In the midst this data crunch are fears of lost privacy. Do not fear. Creative innovations are bringing mash-ups to our diversity. Data Analytics Report Useful information, knowledge and finding some unexpected results can “strike it rich” with added creative thinking. Data mining supplies analysts, investors, and traders with customers buying patterns, historical trading rules, even fraudulent behavior for insurance claims. Predictive analytics is used in web mining by analyzing user’s movements from one web content to another. Collecting the data of where a user browses and the content they are seeking can become knowledge if the analyst understands the patterns (Turban & Volonino, 2011). An Association Discovery Algorithm is a tool of data mining where new rules are discovered such that if one item is present then another will also be found. This type of knowledge benefits analyst’s predictability of future probabilities and is very useful to the marketing department, (Ranjan, 2008). A traditional example......

Words: 1569 - Pages: 7