Writing_Project__4-amanda[1] - Medina 1 Amanda Medina...

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Amanda Medina Professor Song English 104 December 4, 2006 The Ultimate Ruler America has been viewed by the world as a land of dreams realized and of dreams that are unrealistic. This view changes the paths that most immigrants pursue when they are working to achieve their dreams. The main character in Typical American, Ralph Chang, is a Chinese immigrant who comes to America under a certain impression that gives him a romanticized view of American society. Ralph has come to America to gain an education and to construct a better life for himself. Through the novel, Gish Jen shows the malleability of Ralph’s thoughts and outlooks on American culture and the reasons he changes his priorities. This event is best realized in the juxtaposition between “place” and “palace” as the two respective terms are defined in the book through their relationship to Ralph. Ralph is in search of his new life. As an immigrant he must adjust to a complete disruption of his psychological attitude of himself, as only a Chinese man. Coming to America, Ralph experiences new cultural rules that cause him to believe that he needs to find his niche in this new world. Ralph feels his niche in the world can only be achieved through the acquisition of prestige. Ralph seeks an education and a respectable occupation to aid him in his pursuit of power. Ralph feels that by attaining power he can claim his “place” in American society. Through Ralph, Gish Jen, works to prove that a “place” in society is not earned by having prestige or an occupation or an education. “Place” is
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This note was uploaded on 10/08/2009 for the course ENGL 104 taught by Professor Smith during the Spring '08 term at Texas A&M.

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Writing_Project__4-amanda[1] - Medina 1 Amanda Medina...

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