The short story “The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu begins with Jack remembering events from his childhood. Jack recalls being a fussy baby who could only be calmed down by his Chinese mother’s origami animals, which appeared to come to life when she blew into them. The first origami animal that Jack remembers is a tiger. When Jack was little, his mother used to make him all kinds of origami animals that he enjoyed playing with. He recalls that the animals came alive and used to get into all sorts of adventures.

Jack remembers that when he was a teenager, he heard that his American father has ordered his Chinese mother from a catalog from Hong Kong, where he eventually went to meet her. Jack is judgmental about his mother’s choice and does not understand what kind of woman would agree to be essentially bought like that.

Jack then recalls being ten years old and moving to a new house in Connecticut. His neighbors once commented on him being mixed race and on his mother’s inability to speak English. Jack also recalls an episode where his origami tiger accidentally broke a boy’s Star Wars toy. Angry, the boy hit Jack and destroyed his tiger, calling it garbage and making Jack feel like an outsider. After the...

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