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Pat Swenson, CSUN - Typical American
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Prof Pat Swenson

Campus Email: pat.swenson@csun.edu

Elements of Fiction

Literary Theory

Myth & Archetype: The Hero's Quest

ProfPat's Main Page

ProfPat's Education Links

Department Information

Department of English

708 Sierra Tower
Phone: 818.677.3431

English Department Website

Liberal Studies Program

EA 100
Phone: 818.677.3300

Liberal Studies Website

Typical American by Gish Jen - Discussion Guide



Ralph Chang, Helen Chang, Theresa Chang, Callie Chang, Mona Chang

Grover Ding, Old Chao, Janis Chao, Chuck, Pete, the Super

Cammy, Mr. Fitt, Professor Pinkus, Prof. Rodney S. Pierce, Little Lou


Person-against-self - an internal conflict of feelings.

Person-against-person - the typical protagonist vs. antagonist scenario.

Person-against-society - the protagonist battles against the larger organizations of society
(or a system of beliefs held by society).

Person-against-nature - the protagonist is threatened by a component of nature.


The Immigrant Experience, Cultural Assimilation, Language Issues


The Greatness of America -- The American Dream, "Typical American," Suburbia: Land of Greater Promises

What is Happiness, Fulfillment?

Marriage, Infidelity, Betrayal, Forgiveness, Acceptance

Sense of Duty



Ambition, Greed, Desire, Materialism