Real and Fake Characters
Donald Duk is a novel written by Frank Chin in the year 1991. The setting is based in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The book is about a boy of the age twelve dealing with the struggles of Chinese cultural identity. Being born in America, the boy finds it hard to embrace his Chinese culture. The parents fully embrace the Chinese culture but Donald hates been associated with the Chinese people. The protagonist however, realizes of himself through the New Year Chinese celebration and through dreams. In the book, there are real characters and other characters that are not real.
The real characters are King Duk, Daisy Duk, Penelope, Venus, Arnold and Uncle Donald Duk. The first character is King Duk; he is the father to Donald. He owns a Chinese restaurant in town and embraces his culture. The father is the boy’s advisor as he is always teaching his son on how to embrace the Chinese heritage. The father also advises his son on how to be tough and deal with situations upfront at school. He states, “Your walking style creates the impression that you want everybody to beat you up” (Chin 20). He criticizes him and encourages him to act tough.
Donald’s mother is also another character who behaves real; she loves her culture and embraces it well. She appreciates been Chinese and has no problem with that. In the house, she plays the role of a mediator when the father and son collide. When the son makes the anti- Chinese culture statements and upsets the father, the mother is always there to intervene. She tries to explain to the son the importance of their ancient and guides her towards behaving. The twin sisters Penelope and Venus both discuss of the pop culture when there is tension between the son and the father. They help their small brother understand of their heritage. In the book, they are portrayed as people who positively embrace their culture. They are again referred to as bringing humorous relief.
Arnold Azalea is Donald’s friend who is portrayed as a white but loves the Chinese culture and cannot find the reason as to why Donald dislikes his ethnicity. The friend appreciates the Chinese together with their values and this is the main reason why he joins Donald’s family for the New Year’s festival held in their town. Uncle Donald also helps in calming issues when they arise between the father and the son. He is the one who shades light on Donald by explaining in depth to him of their heritage. He further explains of the Chinese accomplishments in America by stating examples. He mentions how the 1860 Central Railroad was built clarifying that the Chinese immigrants build it though the Americans were never appreciative (Chin 143). No credit was given to them for the effort they invested in building the Railroad. Besides all the other characters, a few were not real.
Donald Duk is the main character in the book that was not realistic; he disliked his Chinese culture and often termed himself as of American descend. The character is in search of an identity. He finds his culture as not worthy, boring and dim-witted. However, towards the end of the story, he starts having appreciative dreams and starts addressing white people as racists. He also compares himself to a dancer named Fred Astaire. He also desires to live in black and white nightlife. Lastly, Larry Louie the dance instructor is phony; he maintains a thin figure imitating the tap dancer named Fred Astaire. He is of Chinese descend but adores the American culture; this is a symbol that he does not fully embrace his descent.
Chin, Frank. Donald Duk: a novel. Minneapolis, MN: Coffee House Press, 1991. Print.