Identity In David Hwang's Play 'Trying To Find Chinatown'

536 Words3 Pages

Consolisa Edmond
Professor Sanati
English Comp. 102-12
22 March 2017
Analysis of” Trying to Find Chinatown”
Shortly after birth, we have our identity written on our birth certificate and we are forever defined by that. The world often defines the people within it, instead of people going off to discover their own identity themselves. Race, ethnicity and other factors like it describe who we are but not represent our identity. In David Hwang’s 1996 play “Trying to Find Chinatown” Hwang considers the role of race and ethnicity in how we identify ourselves and how others identify us.
Hwangs play discusses how to define identity from the different perspective that his two protagonists have about what it means to be Asian American. Using the two characters, Ronnie and Benjamin, Hwang expresses his ideas on how identity is defined. …show more content…

They want to fit in to a different group, but are refused because of society’s interpretation of who they should be. A crucial example is when Benjamin says, “I forget that a society wedded to racial constructs constantly forces me to explain my very existence” (Hwang). Benjamin defines his identity through the parents who adopted him, but Ronnie thinks of identity as something to be made. He defines race by genetics instead of association, but he shows he does not think race has anything to do with personal identity when he says, “Sure, I am Chinese. But folks like you act like that means something.
From “Trying to Find Chinatown” Hwang tries to express that identity cannot be defined by someone’s ethnic origin, what they look like or where they are from. As shown in “Trying to Find Chinatown”, Benjamin and Ronnie admit identity cannot be easily defined. They both give valid arguments so it is difficult to decide what determines identity and in the end, we are left with a daunting question. What is the determining factor of identity? Is it race or

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