Reimagining the Monkey King in Comics

Lan Dong

in The Oxford Handbook of Children's Literature

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780195379785
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Reimagining the Monkey King in Comics

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This article introduces the graphic novel, and Asian-American children's literature more generally, through Gene Luen Yang's American Born Chinese. It also describes the importance of folklore to Yang's narrative and, in so doing, places ancient mythology in conversation with postmodern popular culture, highlighting ethnic stereotypes in order to call them into question. American Born Chinese retells the Chinese folk story of the Monkey King in a new light in terms of both its content and format. The tale of the Monkey King has gained a significant position in Asian-diasporic and Asian-American communities as a result of numerous literary reconfigurations. Yang has presented American Born Chinese to young adults as well as to other readers, with an invitation to rethink the implications of children's literature within the context of identity formation and transnational mythology.

Keywords: Gene Luen Yang; American Born Chinese; Monkey King; Asian-American literature; ancient mythology; postmodern popular culture; Chinese folk story

Article.  8434 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Children's Literature Studies ; Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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