Chapter

The Model Minority between Medical School and Nintendo

Lan Dong

in Drawing New Color Lines

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print November 2014 | ISBN: 9789888139385
Published online May 2015 | e-ISBN: 9789888313242 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.5790/hongkong/9789888139385.003.0004
The Model Minority between Medical School and Nintendo

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While Gene Luen Yang is well known for his Printz Award-winning graphic narrative American Born Chinese, Lan Dong examines his lesser-known work in “The Model Minority between Medical School and Nintendo: Gene Luen Yang and Thien Pham’s Level Up.” She first calls attention to the nuances and impact of the model minority myth on Asian Americans and then demonstrates how Level Up re-visions Asian American representation through interactive racialization in video games. Level Up’s discursive and visual elements provide multiple opportunities for protagonist Dennis Ouyang to conform to, play with, or challenge the rules of his status as a model minority, haunted by his deceased father’s wish that his son become a doctor. The novel also demands that readers confront their discomfort with racial stereotypes when these types appear in varied recognizable forms (the model minority, for example). The reader’s and Dennis’s position of mediating among troubling ethnic identities presents a gamification of social and cultural life.

Keywords: Asian American; Graphic novels; Comic Artists; Race; Asia; America; Caricatures; Manga; Visual studies; Pop Culture

Chapter.  7428 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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