Interior Chinatown Lesson Plans



  • Analyze the function of character in the book Interior Chinatown and how the characters relate to identity.
  • Analyze the narrative structure and its significance to plot and theme.
  • Identify textual evidence and create persuasive arguments.
  • Use textual evidence to analyze setting and its relation to theme.
  • Discuss the conflation of one “Asian identity” in America when there are really many distinct Asian identities and cultures.
  • Analyze Interior Chinatown’s narrative style and what it reveals about how society sees Asian Americans.
  • Analyze different events in the plot and what they reveal about the experiences of Asian Americans.
  • Connect events described in the plot to real-world events.
  • Contrast multiple plotlines.


Prior to class, students should have read Act. 1: “Generic Asian Man” starting on page 2 of Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu.

We are introduced to the main character, Willis Wu, who’s life dream is to be “Kung Fu Guy.” We are also introduced to Wu’s mother and father and the parts they have played, and the location of the interior of the Golden Palace Chinese restaurant. Wu describes his father’s aging and the decline of his parents’ relationship. We also meet Older Brother, the unofficial “Guardian of Chinatown.”


  1. How does characterization in Interior Chinatown reinforce or contrast with societal roles that are placed on Asian people in America?
  2. What does characterization in Interior Chinatown portray about Asian American assimilation?
  3. How does the narrative structure influence Yu’s message?
  4. What does this act say about intersectionality in regards to race, class, and gender?
  5. What does Chinatown, as a setting, represent?
  6. How does Yu use the lens of the television show to portray Asian American identity and how American society perceives that identity?
  7. What does Yu say about anti-Asian stereotypes and what are the techniques he uses to do so?
  8. How does the content of the book relate to real-world historical events?
  9. What do Wu’s story and his parents’ stories reveal about difficulties in assimilation or moving away from Chinatown (literally or metaphorically)


  • Four lesson plans, each about one chapter (or “act”) of Interior
  • Chinatown Chapter summaries
  • Teacher instruction outline
  • Student workbook slides
  • Glossary of Terms

Lesson plan created in partnership with Diversify Our Narrative