Culture Overshadows A Young Man’s Life

909 words - 4 pages

Culture Overshadows A Young Man’s Life
The need to discover oneself and create a genuine identity is significantly important to many people, yet others tend to stay tied up in their culture and never explore their identities. The people who are easily influenced by their culture never discover their true selves. Alan Wilson Watt addresses this idea in his famous words, “ We seldom realize, for example that our most private thoughts and emotions are not actually our own. For we think in terms of languages and images which we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society.” Following already held beliefs and ways is both easier to go along with right path to take according to a given society. The main character in the novel Donald Duk by Frank Chin follows this concept by neglecting his inner self, by turning away from his Chinese heritage and trying to become completely American. Duk is influenced by the society to act stereotypically against the Chinese, but once he sees he learns more about his Chinese ancestry he becomes more aware of himself.
Donald Duk holds immerse disregard for his ancestral roots and he believes that his heritage is unworthy and wants to become an “American”. The way that society perceived the Chinese is what drives Duk to be ashamed of who he really is. Duk believes that, “school is a place where the Chinese are comfortable hating Chinese. ‘Only the Chinese are stupid enough to give a kid a stupid name like Donald Duk’.”(Chin 2). Duk is not the only person in the dilemma, but a lot of people believe the flaws of their race by listening to another society. The hate of calling himself Chinese is too great for that he even hates his name, and reasons that people who gave it to him were not even enlightened to provided him with a better name. According to the society Donald Duk is not one of the brightest names, because of its reference to the cartoon character and the comparison causes humiliation for Duk in public. Everywhere that he goes everyone seems to make fun of his name. “Tell me, why did you call the media? I though Chinese didn’t like publicity.”(Chin 142) The society has made the rule and Duk and the other Chinese are just following it, but they fail to look at the importance of their heritage in order to discover their identity. Donald Duk does not realize that his name’s significance other than famous Disney character having it.
Furthermore, Donald also believes that he does not want to be involved in anything that is Chinese and believes that others would also do so. That is why he is shocked when he discovers that his...

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